Incident history—YM Efficiency

Discover how we’re tackling the challenges around Operation Recovery—YM Efficiency.
YM Efficiency salvage operation

You can track the history of our operations to search for the containers, view our videos and images of the remote underwater survey, plus you can learn how we’re managing the salvage and disposal process.

9 August 2019: Tender now open for YM Efficiency salvage

Preparations are underway to secure a contract for recovery of containers that fell overboard southeast of Newcastle last year from the cargo ship YM Efficiency, owned by Taiwanese company Yang Ming.

Searches including remote underwater surveys have identified 66 containers, five have been removed and 15 are yet to be found.

The tender is open until mid-September. Information is available on Austender.

We are seeking to recover all costs from the vessel owners, Yang Ming and their insurers, for the survey and recovery operation.

We’re also continuing our work with the local community including local fishing operators, whose livelihoods have be severely hampered by the incident.

Once the contract is awarded, information sessions will be held for people living and working in the community, on how the operation will be carried out and the risk mitigation of debris and pollution both on and offshore. 

For any further queries about the YM Efficiency tender, please contact AMSA’s Procurement and Contracting section at

Latest update: 9 July 2019: Approach to market for container removal: YM Efficiency


AMSA is in the process of developing an approach to market (ATM) for the salvage and disposal of up to 79 containers. The ATM is expected to be publicly notified and published on the Commonwealth Government AusTender website at in August 2019. This notification will cause emails to be sent to registered users who have entered their interest to include the UNSPSC code for this category of goods or services.  

We recommend prospective companies regularly review this website and in particular this page related to updates on the YM Efficiency, as well as ensure you register on the Australian Government tendering website, AusTender, which is where the ATM will be released in due course.

If you have any further queries in relation to the YM Efficiency, please direct them in the first instance to our Procurement and Contracting section at:  

Latest update: 10 May 2019: Operational update on YM Efficiency

ROUV operation

The AMSA contracted Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROUV) assessment of the containers lost from the YM Efficiency continues, with 54 containers found (as of 6 May) and confirmed by ROUV as belonging to the YM Efficiency.

Another four containers that have washed ashore or been located in nearshore areas have also been confirmed.

Total area searched (as of 6 May) 578.3km2.

The video below depicts several containers identified from the ROUV operations in February. 

Some of the containers found appear to be severely damaged, with large sections of the containers and their contents spread across a large area.

AMSA is assessing imagery collected by the ROUV to determine whether the containers can be recovered.

The ROUV assessments will continue over the coming weeks as weather conditions permit.

AMSA is continuing to liaise closely with the local community and commercial fishers to ensure they have up to date information on the operation and the locations of potential hazards.

23 January 2019: Operational update on YM Efficiency

ROUV operation

The AMSA contracted Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROUV) assessment of the containers lost from the YM Efficiency recommenced on the 12 of January. 

Since the previous update an additional nine containers have been located and imaged by the ROUV bringing the total targets imaged to 12.

AMSA will assess the imagery collected by the ROUV to determine whether the containers can be recovered.

AMSA will be seeking to recover all costs associated with the search and any recovery operations from the ship owners Yang Ming.

The ROUV assessments will continue over the coming weeks as weather conditions permit.

12 December 2018: Operational update on YM Efficiency

ROUV operation

The AMSA contracted Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROUV) assessment of the containers lost from the YM Efficiency began on 3 December. 

So far three targets of interest have been located and imaged.

Target 1

On December 3 the ROUV was deployed close to shore for testing just south of Fingal Bay at the known location of a target identified during the shoreline clean-up operations. The ROUV identified a number of tyres and what could be the remains of a shipping container in about 20-30 metres of water.

tyres underwatertyres underwater

Targets 2-3

On Monday 10 December the ROUV proceeded to an area about 32 kilometres east of Redhead, in the vicinity of the location where the containers were lost from the ship.

The ROUV successfully located two containers on the seafloor and was able to image the container numbers. AMSA has confirmed that the containers were part of the YM Efficiency’s manifest. The containers are damaged but appear to be intact and resting in about 120 metres of water.

The ROUV assessments will continue over the coming weeks as weather conditions permit.


Sonar search

The second phase of the surface operations designed to locate the containers on the sea floor have continued over the last month. The second phase of operations contracted by the ships insurance company utilises side scan sonar to attempt to locate the outstanding containers.

Extremely poor weather, with high winds and heavy seas off the NSW coast over the past few weeks has hampered search operations however, to date 254 km2 of sea floor has been scanned and two additional targets have been located since the initial survey in August.

The two new possible containers are plotted on the below map which also shows the area’s searched and the location of the targets imaged by the ROUV. (See high quality hydrographic survey map 11 December 2018 PDF 2.1 MB PDF2.1 MB)

map showing found material MV YM Efficiency - Hydrographic survey 11 December 2018
9 November 2018: AMSA to deploy drones to assess YM Efficiency containers

On 8 November the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) signed a contract to commence operations with Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROUVs) to investigate the containers lost from the YM Efficiency.

The ship’s insurers, Aus Ship, and operators, Yang Ming, conducted survey operations in the area in July, which located approximately 37 containers. There have been significant delays in further search operations caused by weather and sea conditions. While activities recommenced on Friday 19 October, AMSA’s analysis of the completed surveys indicates that there are as many as 42 containers still missing.

The presence of these containers in the valuable fishing grounds off Newcastle presents an unacceptable risk to local fishers. The dangers of hooking up on debris has understandably led to many local trawlers avoiding these valuable areas, which not only impacts their livelihood but also has knock-on effects for the local industry.

AMSA has received three credible reports of trawler hook-ups on containers or other materials lost from the YM Efficiency.

The ROUVs will descend to the ocean floor and provide imagery of the containers and any associated debris that has been identified by the surveys so far. These images will allow an assessment by salvage experts on whether the items can be brought to the surface safely and without causing more damage to the environment.

The survey activity is expected to begin in about a week and take several weeks to complete.

AMSA will keep local fishers and the community informed of the progress and the plans to remove the debris as soon as possible. 

1 August 2018: Initial sub-sea search completed

The initial sub-sea search for missing shipping containers from the YM Efficiency has identified a total of 37 probable containers and what appears to be associated debris on the sea floor off the coast of Newcastle (see high quality map 30 July 2018 PDF2.19 MB).

MV YM Effiency - final survey results. The map is explained in the further attachments below.

This search was conducted over a period of six days by the Port of Newcastle surveying vessel JT Gowlland on behalf of the YM Efficiency’s insurer, Aus Ship, and owner, Yang Ming. As many as 42 containers are still missing.

Aus Ship and Yang Ming have agreed to continue survey operations to locate the remaining containers.

The exact positions of confirmed containers and debris have been provided to fishers in the area and are listed below:

AMSA will also issue an updated Notice to Mariners warning them of the location of these hazards.

A total of 81 containers were lost from the YM Efficiency in rough weather in the early hours of Friday, 1 June 2018.

Once the remaining containers are located, AMSA will be able to assess the risk they present to trawling operations in the area.

3 July 2018: Progress on sub-sea search for lost containers from YM Efficiency

A hydrographic survey vessel engaged by the insurers of YM Efficiency began conducting a sub-sea search for lost containers from the ship on Friday 22 June.

The search has been successful so far but hampered by poor weather with the search suspended on occasions. Search operations are expected to be completed later this week.

The search to date has identified a number of targets which may amount to as many as 50 containers, either broken apart or intact, on the sea floor within the search area (see high quality map PDF1.99 MB).

MV YM Efficiency containers survey results

Data collected during the survey is being processed by the surveyors with the final verification expected about a week after the survey is completed. The risk the containers pose to maritime operations can then be properly assessed.

29 June 2018: Information on the search for containers on the ocean floor

The ship's insurers have contracted Port of Newcastle to provide their hydrographic survey vessel to initially conduct a five-day search.

The initial search will focus on the high priority areas around where the containers were lost, and where modelling indicates that most of them are likely to be located.

The initial search area is identified in the map below with the shaded area showing where the initial search will be undertaken by the survey vessel. The map also shows the location where the containers were lost and the location of the two containers which have been recovered so far.

YM Efficiency search area YM Efficiency search area

Download a higher quality version of the above map PDF1.32 MB.

The vessel will conduct daily surveys of the area. It will take approximately a fortnight to process and analyse the survey data and provide quality safety advice with associated maps and locations. 

Given the potential risk to vessel safety, particularly trawling operations, AMSA will update the public and industry stakeholders as soon as we have confirmed data.

As the process to unload the remaining damaged containers from the YM Efficiency has progressed it has been discovered that fewer containers were lost than initially reported.

The total number of containers lost has been revised down from 83 containers to 81, this leaves 79 containers still unaccounted for.

Reporting debris

A large amount of debris has been recovered from New South Wales Central Coast beaches since the containers were lost. To report debris or for further information call 13 12 36 or visit the NSW Roads and Maritime Services website.

Making a claim

If you feel you have been affected by this incident you should contact the vessel's insurance agent to make a claim.

NameAus Ship P&I

Level 5, Suite 5.02 Fujitsu House                 

15 Blue Street                 

North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia
Last updated: 22 December 2023