SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: May 26, 2020

SNIP: Residents of Sydney’s east have woken to beaches covered in face masks, plastic containers and other items after 40 shipping containers fell off a ship on the weekend.

The APL England lost the cargo in rough seas on Sunday while en route from China to Melbourne, forcing the ship to turn around and head to Brisbane.

The containers lost overboard held a wide range of goods including household appliances, building materials and medical supplies.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority officials received reports of face masks “washing up between Magenta Beach and The Entrance”, north of Sydney.

New South Wales Maritime executive director Alex Barrell said boxes of flexible ducting, commonly used in heating and cooling systems, washed ashore at Bondi and Long Bay on Tuesday.

Eastern beaches locals attempted to clear the debris on Wednesday morning, concerned the large amount of plastic could hurt local marine life.

Aliy Pott, who lives in Bondi, said: “I saw an article about the shipping last night. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I set an alarm and promised myself I’d go down and do what I could.

“When I got down [to Coogee], the beach looked like a tip. The whole left side of the beach was just covered. It was all medical masks and full packages of plastics containers not opened.

NSW Maritime was advising coastal councils between Sydney and Gosford on how to deal with the containers and their contents as sea current modelling shows these areas could be further affected over the coming days.