A cargo ship spent a perilous night listing in rough seas about 320km north-west of Broome last night.

The Mellum Trader, a 100m heavy load carrier, was headed for Broome when it began listing at an angle of 35 degrees.

The ship was carrying new oil well casings and it is understood a cargo shift caused the heavy listing.

As the 13 crew onboard worked to stabilise the vessel, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated rescue efforts.

Jo Meehan from the AMSA said a plane and two tugboats were dispatched to the Mellum Trader, which was heading into bad weather in an attempt to right itself.

The ship had to alter its course to restabilise, but by midnight, Ms Meehan said it was only listing 15 degrees.

“We have two tugboats alongside now, the Far Scimitar and the Allison Tide,” she said.

“They are currently alongside the vessel, but they will provide assistance if they need to.

“The situation has improved.”

The West Australian

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