MAERSK Line says it will use a barge to retrieve one of its containers that has washed up on Moreton Island in southern Queensland.
The container (a TEU) was discovered on the picturesque island after earlier reports had it bobbing around the waters off the Sunshine Coast.
A Maersk spokesperson confirmed the container on Moreton Island was one of theirs.
“Maersk Line takes our commitment to the environment extremely seriously and will bear full responsibility for removing the container,” the spokesperson said.
“The container in question will be removed by barge to Fisherman’s Island to our container depot.”
A spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said they received a report on Saturday from the Brisbane Vessel Traffic Service about an adrift shipping container about 45km (24.3NM) off Mooloolaba (a holiday town on the Sunshine Coast).
“AMSA issued a broadcast to shipping warning of the navigation hazard. This broadcast was also sent to Maritime Safety Queensland, which relayed the warning to water police and Mooloolaba Coast Guard to be broadcast to local vessels via radio channels,” the spokesman said.
AMSA received reports from members of the public and issued a further broadcast to shipping on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, MSQ reported to AMSA the container had washed ashore on Moreton Island.
“The container on Moreton Island is the same container that was seen off Mooloolaba on Saturday,” AMSA stated.
AMSA also received a report on January 22 of a container with similar markings adrift about 650km off the Queensland coast.
“Given the distance offshore and time since the recent container sightings, AMSA cannot confirm whether this is the same container,” AMSA stated.
The container was opened up but was found to be empty.
AMSA said it was working constructively with Maritime Safety Queensland and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure the container was removed safely.
The Maersk spokesperson said they moved about 17 million containers around the world a year, losing very few.
“In 2016 we lost five containers overboard,” she said.
“From 2000 to 2016 we lost an average of 57 containers per year – however, more than half were lost in a single incident, the Svendborg Maersk in 2013, where 517 containers were lost in the Bay of Biscay in unusually rough weather (a hurricane).”