Federal authorities have arrested the sister ship of YM Efficiency in Sydney after the ships' owners refused to pay a $3 million bill relating a cargo spill off the Hunter coast in 2018.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority issued the bill on December 21, 2019, for costs incurred in organising the clean-up , which is due to start in March.
Payment was due on January 18.
YM Efficiency and YM Eternity are owned by a subsidiary of Taiwanese shipping company, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.
The YM Eternity was been arrested in on Sunday morning after AMSA petitioned the Federal court to recover the outstanding debt.
AMSA awarded a $15 million contract to marine services company Ardent Oceania Pty Ltd for the recovery of the containers, which are between Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie.
It is estimated the total cost of the clean-up could reach $20 million.
Eighty one containers were lost from the YM Efficiency in heavy seas on in June 2018. Sixty containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered while a further 16 are still missing.