Inspection reveals ‘inadequate lashing’ and rusty securing points on APL England

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The vessel APL England has been detained in Australia over inadequate lashing, after losing 40 containers overboard off the coast of Sydney on Sunday.

After the vessel docked in the port of Brisbane, an inspection by the the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) revealed lashing arrangements for cargo were “inadequate” and securing points for containers on the deck were “heavily corroded.”

AMSA general manager of operations Allan Schwartz said: “These findings constitute a clear breach of a requirement under SOLAS to ensure that a ship and its equipment are maintained so as not to present a risk to the safety of the ship itself or anyone on board.

“The detention will not be lifted until these serious deficiencies are rectified. That is now a matter for the ship’s owner, American President Lines (APL), and operator to rectify.

“These findings will form part of AMSA’s ongoing investigation and, while we do not want to pre-empt the outcomes of that investigation, it is already clear that the risk of this container loss occurring could have been reduced.”

While the 5,510 teu APL England is owned by APL/CMA CGM, subsidiary ANL is its charterer and operator.

ANL said the ship had suffered a brief loss of propulsion approximately 40 nautical miles off the Gold Coast, having nearly completed its voyage from Ningbo to Melbourne. The loss of containers resulted in cargo, including face masks, washing-up on popular Sydney beaches this week and some boxes still floating out at sea, while a further 74 were reportedly damaged.

Mr Schwartz said AMSA expected the shipowner and its insurer, Steamship Mutual, to “take full responsibility for remediating any impacts of this incident”.

He added: “We’re pleased to hear today that the insurer is engaging contractors to retrieve some of the floating containers.”

Frazer Hunt, partner with law firm Mills Oakley, which represents local marine insurers, told – the incident was similar to other recent stow collapses where “other factors than poor weather will almost certainly be involved”.

Given the vessel’s detention, Mr Hunt said it was “hoped and anticipated that carriers will settle claims for lost or damaged cargo at an early stage”.

 

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