Tyres, yoga mats wash up after ship spill

Rachel Gray

Debris continues to wash ashore the NSW coastline after 83 containers toppled off a Taiwanese cargo ship in rough weather almost two weeks ago, while the vessel remains docked in Sydney.

The YM Efficiency lost the cargo when a wave hit the 43,000-tonne ship about 30km off the coast of Port Stephens as it headed to Sydney from Taiwan on June 1, causing widespread fears of an environmental disaster.

At least a quarter of an Olympic swimming pool of flotsam, including nappies, car parts, plastics, emu oil jars, glass bottles and packaged foods has been accrued by contract cleaners and Central Coast locals, according to the Roads and Maritime Services.

Teams of divers have picked up at least a dozen car tyres sitting on the ocean floor, while yoga mats are among items that have floated onto beaches near Newcastle.

Only two of the containers have been found smashed onto rocks at Yacaaba Headland and Nelson Bay, with no sign of the remaining 81 containers.

Authorities may consider using satellite and radar technology to locate the sunken containers.

The vessel remains at Sydney's Port Botany where it docked on June 6, with about 40 containers having been removed from the ship in a careful operation that's expected to take two weeks.

"They started taking boxes off over the weekend, and so far so good," Botany Bay Harbour Master Philip Holliday told AAP on Tuesday.

"They're taking their time about this to make sure everything is done with a minimum chance of anything going wrong."

The shipping company has apologised to locals and promised to pay for the clean-up estimated to run into the tens of thousands of dollars per day.

Community meetings will be held at Tea Gardens on Wednesday morning and in Port Stephens in the evening.

"Every time there is a storm we will be worried sick that we are going to get another mountain of nappies washing up on our beautiful headlands," Port Stephens local Kassie Klinger told AAP on Tuesday.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority boarded the ship last week and are continuing their investigations.