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The Portland Bay, which is registered in Hong Kong, left Wollongong this morning but then lost power around 7am.
Early fears were that the ship was adrift, but crew onboard have confirmed the ship is now double anchored around 1km off the coast.
A tugboat has been sent to help point the bow of the boat out to sea, and another is on the way which will be able to pull it further from the coastline.
It won’t arrive for three hours.
A total of eight crew have been taken off via tug.
“There are 21 crewmembers on board and there was thought of airlifting some of those crewmembers of the vessel,” Australian Defence Force Brigadier Robert Lording said.
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“I have spoken to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which indicated they believe it is unsafe to do that at this present time and they have delayed that rescue mission.”