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Fears for marine life as debris washes up on NSW beaches

83 containers fell off a cargo ship

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 5 Jun 2018

There are fears whales, dolphins and other marine life could be hurt as debris from a shipping container continues to wash up on beaches north of Newcastle.

Locals have collected dozens of bags of plastic material, jars, packaged food, clocks, nappies and sanitary items from 83 containers that fell off a cargo ship last Thursday night. About 30 more were moved or damaged.

The YM Efficiency was making its way from Taiwan to Sydney when it was hit by heavy swells about 30 kilometres off the coast of Port Stephens.

Port Stephens EcoNetwork's Nigel Dique and about eight volunteers have already filled at least 20 large bags of debris from Zenith and Box beaches.

"There were broken clocks, bits of structural plastic material, lots of jars and food items packaged in plastic," Mr Dique told AAP on Monday.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Roads and Maritime Services and the state's Environment Protection Agency were working with local councils to ensure all material was cleaned up.

The government says it will try recoup the cost of the clean-up from the ship's owner.

The ship's insurer has employed local company Varley to put skip bins out for residents to dispose collected rubbish and use a helicopter to find the debris floating at sea, local MP Kate Washington told AAP.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the incident.

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