Australian authorities have arrested a Yang Ming containership over a debt related to the loss of 81 containers from the YM Efficiency off the coast of Newcastle in 2018.
Federal authorities arrested the YM Eternity Sunday morning at the Port Botany after Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) petitioned the court to recover pollution debt that could reach as high as AUD $20 million.
YM Eternity is sister ship to YM Efficiency, which lost dozens off containers overboard in June 2018 during heavy weather. Most of the containers subsequently sank.
Both ships are subsidiaries of Taiwanese shipping company Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.
According to the AMSA, Yang Ming has refused to pay for the clean-up of the pollution, including the containers and their contents which have been located on the seafloor off the coast of Newcastle.
So far, 60 containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered, and another 16 are still missing, the AMSA said.
The AMSA in December signed a contract with Ardent Oceania valued at about AUD $15 million for the recovery and cleanup of the containers located. The anticipated cost to locate and clean-up the remaining missing 16 containers could be up to $5 million, bringing Yang Ming’s debt to $20 million, the AMSA said.
“If you pollute our waters and refuse to pay the price of cleaning up that pollution, we will hold you accountable. Our ocean won’t pay the price of Yang Ming’s pollution – Yang Ming will,” said AMSA Chief Executive Officer, Mick Kinley.
Salvage work is expected to begin in March 2020.