YM Efficiency, a Liberian-registered cargo ship, was making its way from Kaohsiung in Taiwan to Sydney’s Port Botany on Thursday night when large swells knocked 83 containers into the water off Newcastle.
Roads and Maritime Services was alerted to the lost cargo on Friday.
Spokesman Angus Mitchell said the contents of the containers was unknown, but they’re not believed to contain dangerous goods.
“A full manifest of the cargo on board the vessel, and the condition of the vessel, is being sought,” Mr Mitchell said in a statement.
A further 30 containers on board are severely damaged.
The department said two had been spotted about 100 metres off Fingal Head and Boondelbah Island, near Port Stephens.
It’s now the vessel operator’s responsibility to recover and remove the 40-foot containers and boaters were alerted to the potential hazards on marine radio.
Members of the public can report any sightings to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on 1800 641 792.
The ship was reportedly refused entry to Port Botany on Friday due to the risk of more cargo coming loose.