Boaters are being urged to remain vigilant following a cargo spill that saw 83 containers lost in seas off the coast of Newcastle.The incident saw YM Efficiency, operated by Taiwanese shipping company Yang Ming Marine Transport, hit rough seas off the New South Wales coast late on Thursday.
83 containers fell overboard and items such as surgical masks and nappies are beginning to wash ashore, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
A further 30 containers were damaged but remained on board the ship which hit trouble 30 kilometres off the coast.
Roads and Maritime Services has warned that other vessels could also be in danger as submerged cargo poses a threat.
"They're 40-ft containers, they sit about a foot or two off the water. Even in the best of conditions they're difficult to spot, but at night and in a swell, almost impossible," Roads and Maritime Services executive director Angus Mitchell said, according to the BBC.
The Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement that they have also issued a warning to vessels in the region.
“AMSA has tasked its Essendon Challenger jet to assess the YM Efficiency for any damage caused by the loss of the containers and try to locate any afloat containers,” the statement said, according to Channel 7.
“AMSA has also issued a safety broadcast to all ships in the area. Under the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies, New South Wales authorities will take the lead on container recovery."
Masses of debris is already beginning to wash-up on the New South Wales coast, with a clean-up operation underway. ABC reports that dozens of locals have already begun cleaning up beaches around Port Stephens.
"Members of the public are reminded items recovered from containers remain the property of the consignor and can't be salvaged," Mitchell said.