The Professional Fisherman’s Association says it is “disgusted” about the lack of action to clean up containers that fell off a ship near Newcastle in June.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the PFA said fishers around Newcastle were still fouling their nets and losing income due to lost containers from the YM Efficiency.
The PFA was critical of the failure to complete surveys to locate the containers, saying it was putting “lives at risk”.
It comes after rubbish from the containers washed up at Merewether last week.
“The commercial and recreational fishing communities in Newcastle and Sydney have been shown a blatant disregard in relation to the impact this incident has had,” Tricia Beatty, CEO of the Professional Fishermen’s Association, said.
“We were promised surveys to be completed to allow fishers to minimise their risk … Five months later, still no action.”
The Liberian-flagged container ship lost 81 containers about 30 kilometres southeast of Newcastle on June 1.
An initial sub-sea search identified a total of 37 probable containers and associated debris on the sea floor.
Two containers washed ashore, along with thousands of tonnes of rubbish, but 42 remain missing.
The PFA believes because the containers are so widespread, removal is the only option to ensure safety.
It wants the surveys completed by an appropriate vessel and plans to retrieve the containers enacted immediately.
“YM Efficiency’s insurers, Aus Ship, and operators, Yang Ming, are responsible for locating and cleaning up the containers and associated debris,” an Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesperson said.
“AMSA is monitoring the progress of the search which has so far located about 37 containers on the sea floor.”