The master of a container ship that lost about 50 containers overboard has faced a Queensland court over allegations of poor cargo loading.
Mohamad Zulkhaili Bin Alias’s matter was briefly mentioned in Wynnum Magistrates Court on Monday.
Alias, 43, is charged with two offences relating to the discharge of garbage into the sea and failing to ensure a vessel is operated so as not to cause pollution or damage to the Australian marine environment.
The Singapore-flagged ship was en route to Melbourne from China when rough seas caused some 50 shipping containers to topple overboard off the coast of Sydney on Sunday, May 24.
The court mention comes as the unloading of damaged containers from the APL England continues.
The vessel is under detention in the Port of Brisbane.
It will not be released “until its serious deficiencies have been rectified”, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a statement on Monday.
The unloading is expected to take several days.
AMSA laid the charges – which carry maximum penalties of more than $300,000 – against Alias on Friday.
It was a decision not taken lightly, AMSA operations general manager Allan Schwartz said at the time.
“This and other incidents remind us of the important role the ship’s master has in ensuring the ships that ply our waters are operated safely and do not damage our marine environment,” he said in a statement.
AMSA also ordered $22 million from the ship’s insurers under the Protection of the Seas Act, which must be paid before the ship will be released from detention at the Port of Brisbane.
This money covers estimated clean-up and remediation costs.
Containers and other debris have washed up on NSW beaches since the ship lost some of its load.
NSW Maritime acting executive director Alex Barrell said last week 21 of the containers lost at sea were empty while the ship’s manifest indicated the remainder held no dangerous or hazardous goods.