The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released its preliminary report on the loss of 81 containers overboard the container ship YM Efficiency, off Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia last month.
On 31 May, the ship was informed that the pilot boarding time for the ship’s call at Port Botany had been delayed by 8 hours to 20.00 on 1 June. At about 14.00, the ship’s main engine stopped and the ship started drifting off the NSW coast, about 30 NM east of Newcastle. The weather at that time was overcast with west-south-westerly winds at force eight with 6m seas and 5m swells.
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The ship’s main engine re-started for short periods over the next few hours to maintain some control over the ship’s drift. The rough weather continued throughout the evening with the wind having increased to force nine.
At about 23.30, the ship’s main engine started with the engine speed set to 35 rpm and the ship’s head was slowly brought around to the south-west to resume the passage to Port Botany. At midnight, the third officer handed over the navigation watch to the second officer. By then, the ship was on a heading of about 210° with a speed of about 4.3 knots. The weather at midnight was overcast with west-south-westerly winds at force nine with 6 m seas and 5 m swells.
At about 00.34, 16 NM east-south-east of Newcastle, the ship experienced a period of quick, heavy rolling for about 60 to 90 seconds, which caused 81 containers to fall over board.
The ship experienced a period of quick, heavy rolling for about 60 to 90 seconds. The rolling was estimated by the ship’s master as having reached angles of up to 30º to port and starboard.
Shortly after the start of the rolling, several engineering alarms sounded and the main engine shut down. The second officer heard loud noises on deck and suspected that there had been some cargo damage. He turned on the ship’s deck lights and observed that containers had been damaged and lost overboard.
At about 0040, the chief officer reported several containers damaged or lost overboard from bays 52 and 56, just aft of the accommodation.