SPECIALIST machinery and up to 100 contracted workers have joined the effort to clean up debris from the 83 containers that fell overboard off the YM Efficiency last week.
NSW Roads and Maritime Services executive director, maritime, Angus Mitchell, who is also the state marine pollution controller, today joined the crews at Broughton Island, Fingal Head, Seal Rocks, Treachery, Hawks Nest, Shark Island, Jimmys Beach and Birubi Beach.
He said bad weather had hampered efforts, but weather was forecast to improve and divers would be deployed to help assess rubbish that may be sitting on the seabed.
“Boats and specialised beach cleaning equipment from MidCoast Council are also being used to remove debris from the water close to shore in the Port Stephens area,” he said.
“A mini dozer known as a Pozzi Track is also assisting the clean up effort on Jimmys Beach and will be redeployed as required.”
Mr Mitchell said whilst it is fully understandable that the communities want to pitch in and assist, members of the public are not encouraged to join the clean up effort, partly for their own safety and partly as materials in the ocean are subject to Australian Customs and Quarantine regulations.
“The waste is being disposed of by the contractor in accordance with Australian Quarantine and Customs regulations,” Mr Mitchell said.
“We want to reassure the community that we have no intention of scaling down this clean up effort until we are satisfied that our waters and coastline are back to their pristine condition.”
Roads and Maritime is leading the effort in close consultation with other government authorities in order to determine the area to prioritise the clean up, including National and Marine Parks, EPA, OEH, local councils, DPI Fisheries and the Australian Marine Safety Authority.