Warning to Shipping off Australia’s East Coast
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ More than 600 tons of timber were floating in shipping lanes off the New South Wales coast Monday night following the sinking of a Singapore-regi stered freighter.
Authorities said that the timber beams were wired together in bundles that could knock a hole in a vessel, and warned that the floating wood posed a major hazard to small boats and ships.
The Hoe-Lien sank about 23 miles off Newcastle, 74 miles north of Sydney, while it was being towed to safety on Monday. The badly listing vessel was evacuated on Sunday in a daring sea rescue after its deck cargo shifted in mountainous waves.
An Australian destroyer was diverted from exercises in the Coral Sea to answer the cargo vessel’s distress call. Water police and two Royal Australian Air Force helicopters also joined in the rescue of the Hoe-Lien’s 25 crew members.
The 3,200-ton freighter was on its way to Sydney from Malaysia when it capsized.