Despite gale force winds and hazardous surf conditions forecast to continue into at least tomorrow across NSW, around 100 people are continuing efforts to clean up debris and containers along the NSW coast.

NSW Maritime A/ Executive Director Alex Barrell said NSW Maritime and crews have been working hard at multiple salvage sites between Port Stephens and the Illawarra to remove debris from the APL England as quickly as possible to minimise risks to boaters and the environment generally.

“The safety of boaters is paramount and we ask that caution is taken if heading out on the water as floating debris can be a navigational risk. Over the long weekend, variable messaging signs will be at key locations to remind the boating community to remain vigilant for any floating or submerged containers,” Mr Barrell said.

Of the 50 containers lost overboard, 24 were empty refrigerated containers and 26 contained a variety of goods.

“Sixteen containers are now accounted for – either recovered and disposed of by our crews, or in the process of being recovered and disposed of. All except one of these is an empty refrigerated container,” he said.

“The shipping container which washed up on rocks south of Maroubra Beach on Sunday has now been dismantled and removed for safe disposal.

“At Bateau Bay we’ve had multiple crews working on the successful removal of five containers since they came ashore last week. 

“With many containers still unaccounted for we still have a big job ahead of us.

“Clean-up of debris in the area is expected to continue over the next few weeks and dependent on weather, NSW Maritime recovery crews plan to carry out some more aerial surveillance from as early as Friday.”

Members of the public who see any suspected debris or shipping containers on NSW beaches should contact the NSW Maritime Info Line 13 12 36 (option 2) or report via email to

A map below shows where debris has been reported, current salvage operations, and places which have already been cleaned. This map will be updated daily.

View the Debris Recovery map.

APL England container loss – Update 6 

The Master of the APL England appeared before the Wynnum Magistrates court on 1st June 2020 to face two charges relating to the loss of containers from the ship:

  • Section 26F of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 – Discharging of garbage into the sea contrary to the Act 
  • Section 141 of the Navigation Act 2012 – Master did not ensure that the vessel was operated in a manner that did not cause, 
    pollution to the marine environment in the coastal sea of Australia or the exclusive economic zone of Australia and,

    • damage to the marine environment in the coastal sea of Australia or the exclusive economic zone of Australia 
    • These charges carry maximum penalties in excess of $300,000. 

The matter was adjourned to 12 June in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. 

The APL England remains under detention in the Port of Brisbane and will not be released until its serious deficiencies have been rectified.  

The unloading of the damaged containers has started and is expected to take several days to complete. 

AMSA’s investigation is ongoing.