ALMOST two years after falling overboard, shipping containers lost from the YM Efficiency are being pulled from the seafloor.
The first of 60 containers expected to be raised about 25 kilometres off the Hunter coast over coming weeks was lifted onto the deck of the M/V Pride on Monday.
The container was lifted into a custom-made basket on the seafloor to ensure it did not break apart as it was removed from a depth of 130 metres.
A hydraulic crane on the specialist vessel pulled the basket from the sea.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the container had been safely lifted onto the ship "without releasing any further pollution into the environment".
"The container was brought to the surface intact and will not be opened until brought ashore to the waste processing facility," it said.
The first container removed was loaded with IKEA furniture, but an updated manifest obtained by the Newcastle Herald shows the recovery team is set to pull a variety of goods from the sea over coming weeks.
The Herald revealed early last year what was in all 81 containers that fell overboard in June, 2018, but only 60 containers have been located and identified for removal.
Five were removed from close to shore before the operation began, while 16 are still deemed missing.
The updated manifest shows the container with two 2018 Chevrolet Silverados, worth about $115,000 each, is set to be recovered.
Other products in containers identified for removal include scooters, mountain bikes, vehicle tyres, truck parts, bike gear, pre-manufactured bathroom pods, LED displays and carpet.
One container slated for removal is ironically, given the timing, full of toilet paper and kitchen paper towel.
Another is loaded with Canon photography equipment.
Products that could remain at the bottom of the sea forever include industrial vacuum cleaners, commercial washing machines, air compressors and scissor lifts.
Those goods were stored in some of the containers still considered missing.
The M/V Pride is expected to return to the Port of Newcastle only twice during the month-long operation to unload containers and resupply.
They recovered materials will be sorted at a port-side site in Carrington for either salvaging, recycling or disposal.
The Yang Ming-owned YM Efficiency lost 81 containers off the Hunter coast on June 1, 2018.
The incident caused widespread pollution along the NSW coast. Tonnes of plastic products washed ashore, predominately on Port Stephens beaches.
AMSA is locked in a Federal Court battle with Yang Ming's insurers about the cost of removing the containers.