Tugboats struggle to prevent a bulk carrier that lost power after leaving Wollongong in wild weather from crashing into the cliffs at Royal National Park, south of Sydney.
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the bulk carrier Portland Bay is anchored about a nautical mile off Garie Beach in the Royal National Park between Sydney and Wollongong.
“It’s a precarious position,” he told reporters on Monday.
“Our thoughts are with those on board, but the NSW Government continues to work with Commonwealth agencies to ensure this situation is rectified as quickly as possible,” he said. .
Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Thurtell said the 170-metre vessel, registered in Hong Kong, left Wollongong on Monday morning before getting into trouble around 7.30am.
“The vessel had lost power and was drifting towards the cliffs in the Royal National Park,” Mr Thurtell said.
Portland Bay has dropped two anchors and the tug SL Diamantina is on the scene in an attempt to point the vessel’s bow out to sea and slow its drift to shore.
A second tug en route from Port Botany is expected around 1:30 p.m. to tow the bulk carrier further from the coast.
Plans to transport the ship’s 21 crew to safety have been put on hold.
“I have spoken to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), who have advised that they believe it is not safe to do so at this time and have delayed this rescue mission” , said Mr. Thurtell.
The ship carries nothing but its own fuel and oil, which should make it easier for tugs to help.
AMSA sent a jet to the scene to provide communications and location data.
The NSW Water Police, Voluntary Sea Rescue Service and the Navy are also responding to the operation led by the Port Authority of NSW