National

Ship clean-up continues along NSW coast

By AAP Newswire

The clean-up mission continues along NSW's coastline with less than half of the 40 shipping containers which fell off the APL England on the weekend accounted for.

The cargo ship lost the containers south of Sydney during rough seas on Sunday night.

Fifteen of the 40 containers have now been accounted for, NSW Maritime says, with efforts under way to remove them from beaches along the coastline.

A tug boat was deployed from Newcastle on Thursday to retrieve five containers that washed ashore at Bateau Bay on the Central Coast.

"The containers were moved by tides from the beach at Bateau Bay around 1.30pm and broke up on the rocks, spilling their contents and increasing the level of complexity for the operation," a NSW Maritime spokeswoman said in a statement.

These were the same containers sighted floating off Terrigal on Wednesday.

A second tug boat left Botany Bay to retrieve a single container located off Port Kembla, in the Illawarra region, while a third left Sydney to collect four near Norah Head on the Central Coast.

Contractors have begun to remove and dispose of five containers at Birdie Beach on the NSW Central Coast, NSW Maritime added.

Randwick City Council in Sydney's east has reopened its beaches after they were closed for cleaning on Wednesday.

A council spokesman told AAP the beaches reopened on Thursday morning but future closures were possible if more debris washed ashore.

"We will be taking direction and advice from NSW Maritime to determine the risk of debris on our beaches," the spokesman said.

NSW Maritime acting executive director Alex Barrell said 21 of the containers lost at sea were empty while the ship's manifest indicated the remainder held no dangerous or hazardous goods.

The cargo includes bar stools, food dehydrators, medical face masks, shields and goggles, furniture, range hoods, gazebos and "cat furniture".