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Next steps considered in NSW clean-up effort

by Penny Robins 12 Jun 01:57 PDT
Debris from Liberian ship YM Efficiency washed up north of Newcastle. The ship lost part of its cargo during stormy weather last week. © ABC News: Nancy

As the clean-up of the NSW Mid North Coast moved into day 12, Roads and Maritime Services is continuing to liaise with other NSW and Australian Government agencies and other stakeholders to determine the next steps.

Roads and Maritime Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said the clean-up effort was continuing between Coffs Harbour and North Stockton, with a shoreline response and divers removing debris from the water.

"Weather and sea conditions continue to not be entirely on our side. However, the beaches and bays are mostly clear of debris. The difficult part now is to retrieve debris from rocky outcrops and shoreline which is only accessible by boat," Mr. Mitchell said.

"We are working closely with the contactors and are satisfied with the progress in collecting debris, considering the weather conditions, geographical spread of the affected areas and restricted access to some of the sites.

"Almost a third of an Olympic swimming pool of debris has been removed from the water and shoreline.

"Two of the 83 containers which were lost from YM Efficiency have now been recovered, the last on Saturday in the water not far from the southern side of Fingal Island.

"We are engaging with other stakeholders such as NSW Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environment and Heritage and local councils regarding the de-escalation and possible re-escalation protocols in place in the event more debris washes up and its potential salvage.

Mr. Mitchell said Roads and Maritime continued to work in close consultation with the multi-agency effort of stakeholders across local, state and federal jurisdictions. Roads and Maritime is leading the effort under the NSW State Waters Marine Oil and Chemical Spill Contingency Plan, prepared in support of the NSW State Emergency Plan (EMPLAN) and the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies (National Plan).

Roads and Maritime officers and those from other emergency response, environment and wildlife agencies participate in regular pollution training exercises which are simulated responses including, coincidentally, one in December last year, which was held at Port Stephens.

Community members are invited to attend public information sessions tomorrow and Thursday at Nelson Bay and Tea Gardens, to engage with representatives from key agencies involved in the clean-up.

Public information sessions

  • Wednesday 13 June at 6pm – Wests Nelson Bay, Remembrance Room
  • Thursday 14 June at 10am – Tea Gardens Baptist Church, Myall Street
Community members are also encouraged to continue reporting debris on 13 12 36, selecting option 2.For further information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/containerincident

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