LESS than a month after 63 containers were retrieved from the ocean floor off the Hunter coast, another ship has lost at least 40 containers in heavy seas off NSW.
The APL England, a Singapore-flagged container ship on route to the Port of Melbourne from China, spilled containers after experiencing a loss of propulsion shortly after 6am on Sunday.
Power was restored in minutes but while it was out the ship rocked heavily and multiple container stacks collapsed and fell overboard.
The ship was about 73 kilometres south-east of Sydney when the incident occurred, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said, but travelled north on Sunday to escape the wild conditions.
The ship was off Seal Rocks on Sunday night, according to MarineTraffic.com.
Other vessels have been advised to look out for "possible navigational hazards" when making their way to or from the Port of Newcastle.
The APL England's master reported that 40 containers had been lost and 74 containers were damaged.
Six containers were said to be protruding from starboard side and three from the port side of the ship.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority will task one of its challenger jets to look for containers and debris and to inspect the ship for any signs of damage or pollution.
"At this stage it is unknown whether there will be any shoreline impacts associated with this incident and AMSA is working with NSW Maritime to monitor the situation and develop an appropriate response," AMSA said in a statement late Sunday.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been notified and will launch an investigation.
The incident has occurred close to two years after the YM Efficiency lost more than 80 containers in heavy seas off the Hunter coast.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority concluded a $17 million operation to recover most of those containers earlier this month.