Bad weather is hampering the rescue operation of a cargo ship that ran aground off the coast of NSW without power.
The Portland Bay bulk carrier with 21 crew on board is about a mile from Garie Beach in Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and lost power on Monday morning.
It was feared the ship was drifting into the cliffs in the national park, but authorities say it is now at double anchor.
The vessel’s status is currently marked “not under command” on Marine Traffic.
A rescue helicopter and plane were deployed to evacuate eight non-essential crew from the vessel, with two tugs also dispatched from Port Botany.
A major operation is currently underway south of Sydney with the 169m bulk carrier being held in place by a tug a nautical mile offshore near Wattamolla.
The Portland Bay bulk carrier (pictured) is anchored one nautical mile off Garie Beach in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and lost power on Monday morning
A helicopter had been called in to evacuate eight non-essential crew from the ship, but the rescue mission has since been aborted. Two tugs were brought in from Port Botany
The Portland Bay freighter is seen amid rough seas on Monday
“It is obviously a very precarious position and our thoughts are with those on board,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Monday.
“But the New South Wales Government continues to work with Commonwealth agencies to ensure the situation is rectified as quickly as possible by ensuring that all 21 crew on board are brought to safety on as soon as possible.”
The heavy rains and winds hitting the east coast make the rescue mission all the more difficult.
The Hong Kong-flagged vessel is approximately 170 meters long and 27 meters wide. He had left Wollongong at 7.30am on Monday.
Authorities sent two tugs to pull the boat away from the coast after fears it hit the cliffs in the Royal National Park
The vessel drifted extremely close to the cliffs on the coast with tugs now called in to assist
It is understood a tug is now working to point the bow of the vessel out to sea so it does not run aground.
“There is another tug that is about two and a half to three hours away that will have the capability to pull it away from the coast,” said Australian Defense Force Brigadier Robert Lording.
“There are 21 crew on board and thought has been given to airlifting some of these crew from the ship.
“I have spoken to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority who have advised that they believe it is not safe to do so at this time and that they have delayed this rescue mission.”
Rescue planes and other emergency services are monitoring the situation.