THE Community is being invited to an emergency meeting with Roads and Maritime Services this Thursday 14 June to find out the latest on the container ship spill off Port Stephens two weeks ago.
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The meeting is being held in the Tea Gardens Baptist Church on Myall Street, starting at 10am.
A dedicated band of locals continues to scour Jimmy’s Beach and other Port Stephens coastal areas for debris from the 83 containers which were lost overboard from the YM Efficiency.
The ship and the remainder of its damaged containers,, finally docked in Sydney last Wednesday.
The Taiwanese owners of the vessel have apologised for the event, while their insurance company has engaged contractors to deal with the massive salvage operation.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington spoke in Parliament about the devastating impact on our coastal environment
‘’The tonnes of rubbish that now burden our coastline include plastic wrapping, food products, nappies, containers, sanitary products, surgical masks, beauty products, car spare parts and even clocks,” Ms Washington said.
“I understand that helicopters have surveyed the coastline, divers have been in the water and approximately 100 contractors have been on the beaches coordinating the clean-up.”
Ms Washington also made mention of the clean up undertaken by local residents.
““I thank each and every volunteer who gave up their time in brutal weather conditions to do what they could do to help and the many who continue to do so.”
Officially locals have been advised not to help with the clean up.
“No one is absolutely sure of the contents of all 83 containers that washed overboard, or that those contents are safe,” MidCoast Management Officer Andrew Blatch said.
“In addition, Customs and Border Force have to inspect the debris to make sure it is legal and safe to enter the country, just like any other foreign goods that are regularly inspected when entering Australia.”
“If you have already picked up any debris, please don’t put it in your general household waste or take it to any Council waste facility,” Mr Blatch said.
“You can take debris from the accident to the corner of The Anchorage and The Boulevarde at Hawks Nest, and leave it near the contractor’s skip bin.”
Director of NSW Maritime Services Angus Mitchell said boats had been deployed to the region to help in the search.
But warnings are still in place for fishing boats and other sea going vessels to remain on the lookout for the missing containers.
Some commercial fisherman have decided not to risk heading out.
“Whilst we believe the vast majority are very likely at the bottom of the ocean, we won’t know that for sure for some time yet,” Mr Mitchell said.
For further information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/containerincident or to report debris, call 13 12 36 and select option 2.
By Margie TIERNEY