New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services have advised anyone boating off the north coast this weekend to be on alert for debris after more than 80 shipping containers toppled from a cargo ship off Stockton on Thursday night.
Two containers from the 83 that fell have already been sighted about 100 metres offshore from Fingal Head and Boondelbah Island near Port Stephens.
Roads and Maritime Executive Director Angus Mitchell said the containers are believed to have fallen overboard from the YM Efficiency about 30 kilometres off the NSW Central Coast in Commonwealth waters.
"While the contents of the containers are unknown, we understood they do not contain dangerous goods," Mr Mitchell said.
"A full manifest of the cargo on board the vessel and the condition of the vessel is being sought." Another 30 containers onboard the vessel were reported to be severely damaged.
10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea every year. Up to six million containers are sat on shipping liners crossing the globes oceans and on average every hour one of those shipping containers disappears overabord.
Recovery and removal of these containers is the responsibility of the shipping vessel operator.
Roads and Maritime is asking members of the public to be on the lookout for these 40-foot containers at sea and on shore. Boaters are being made aware of these possible navigation hazards on marine radio.
Members of the public should report any sightings of the 12 metre containers to the AMSA reporting hotline on 1800 641 792.
Roads and Maritime said it was working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the vessel's agents and insurers to ensure the safest recovery of the containers.
Earlier today the vessel was recorded as travelling South and was off the coast of Botany Bay. Read more from ABC here >