Massive cargo ship stranded just off NSW’s coast without power as helicopters race to evacuate crew and tugs frantically work to contain the situation
- Portland Bay bulk carrier is stranded off Royal National Park, south of Sydney
- Twenty-one crew are on board and there are fears the ship may run aground
- NSW Premier said situation was ‘very precarious’ amid wild weather in NSW
- Two tugboats have been sent to help steer boat away from the cliffs of the park
A cargo ship with 21 crew on board has become stranded off the coast of NSW without power.
The Portland Bay bulk carrier is about one kilometre off Garie Beach in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and lost power on Monday morning.
There were fears the ship may drift into the cliffs of the national park but authorities say it is now double anchored.
The ship’s status is currently ‘not under command’.
A helicopter had been called in to evacuate eight non-essential crew from the ship, but the rescue mission has since been abandoned. Two tugboats have meanwhile been sent from Port Botany.
The Portland Bay bulk carrier (pictured) is anchored one nautical mile off Garie Beach in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney , and lost power on Monday morning
‘It is obviously a very precarious position and our thoughts are with those on board,’ NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Monday.
‘But the New South Wales government is continuing to work with Commonwealth agencies to ensure that situation is rectified as quickly as possible in ensuring that all 21 crew on board are lifted to safety as quickly as possible.’
Severe rainfall and winds battering the east coast are making the rescue mission all the more difficult.
The Hong Kong-flagged ship is about 170 metres long and 27 metres wide. It had left Wollongong at 7.30am on Monday.
Authorities have sent two tugboats to steer the boat away from the coast after fearing it would hit the cliffs of the Royal National Park
The ship drifted extremely close to the cliffs on the coast with tugboats now called in to assist
It’s understood a tugboat is now working to point the bow of the vessel towards sea so it doesn’t run aground.
‘There is another tugboat which is about two-and-a-half to three hours away which will have the capacity to pull it further away from the coast,’ Australian Defence Force Brigadier Robert Lording said.
‘There are 21 crew members on board and there was thought of airlifting some of those crewmembers of the vessel.
‘I have spoken to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which has indicated they believe it is unsafe to do that at this present time and they have delayed that rescue mission.’
Rescue aircraft and other emergency services are monitoring the situation.
More to come