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Pay up, container spill insurer told

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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has accused London-based marine insurer Britannia P&I of using “every trick in the book” to avoid paying for the cost of cleaning up pollution caused by a ship it insured.

AMSA has already commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the insurer and Taiwanese owner of the YM Efficiency, which lost 63 containers overboard off Newcastle NSW in June 2018.

The cleanup operation has involved the recovery and disposal of 63 containers and their contents, which was completed earlier this month. The exercise has cost AMSA about $17 million.

“Yang Ming and their insurers Britannia P&I have tried every trick in the book to attempt to shirk their responsibilities to clean up their mess,” AMSA CEO Mick Kinley said. “They said that attempting to remove these containers was dangerous. That was wrong.

“They said trying to remove them would cause more damage to the environment. That was wrong.

“They said that these containers and their contents aren't pollution. There have been tonnes of garbage that show that was wrong too.

“Yang Ming are out of excuses and they should pay up.”

AMSA has tried to engage with the vessel’s owner since the incident, but without success.