The first images of sunken shipping containers lost from the YM Efficiency have emerged more than six months after the maritime incident occurred.
A contractor commissioned by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has been using remotely operated underwater vehicles to assess the submerged containers and associated debris since early December.
The contractor, Subsea, located containers confirmed to be from the Yang Ming-owned ship while searching an area 32km east of Redhead on Monday.
“The ROUV successfully located two containers on the seafloor and was able to image the container numbers,” the AMSA update said.
“AMSA has confirmed that the containers were part of the YM Efficiency’s manifest. The containers are damaged but appear to be intact and resting in about 120 metres of water.”
An earlier search on December 3 spotted debris close to the shore south of Fingal Bay. The location had been identified during clean-up operations.
A number of tyres and what could be the remains of a shipping container were assessed in about 20-30 metres of water.
The release of the images comes more than six months after the Yang Ming ship lost 81 containers off the coast of Newcastle in heavy seas on June 1.
Thousands of tonnes of rubbish and two shipping containers washed ashore along the NSW coast after the incident, requiring a multi-government agency and volunteer clean-up operation.
Both AMSA and the Professional Fishermen’s Association criticised Yang Ming for a lack of action to remove the containers from the sea.
Yang Ming’s Australian insurance representatives said in November the company believed the location of all the missing containers had been pinpointed through sonar surveys.
However, its failure to progress search and possible removal operations prompted AMSA to announce it would begin its own underwater assessment.
Subsea’s remotely operated underwater vehicle search is expected to continue over the coming weeks subject to weather conditions.