Cargo ship captain allowed to leave Australia

The APL England container ship lost more than 50 containers in rough seas last month.(Supplied: Blueys Photography)

A Brisbane judge has ruled the captain of a Singaporean container ship involved in a major cargo spill in New South Wales will be allowed to leave the country under new bail conditions.

Mohd Zulkaili Bin Alias, 43, has been charged with environmental offences after more than 50 shipping containers toppled overboard off the coast of Sydney on May 24.

The APL England was travelling from China to Melbourne when it hit rough seas about 70 kilometres south-east of Sydney, causing the containers to fall overboard.

The vessel was then diverted to the Port of Brisbane for inspection by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), where it remains.

Mr Alias stands charged with two environmental offences — one relating to pollution and the other to damaging the marine environment.

The incident triggered a major clean-up operation after the cargo, which included air conditioner ducts and face masks, washed up on Sydney beaches.

AMSA have alleged the spill was a result of poor cargo loading.

AMSA also ordered APL England to pay $22 million before the ship is released from detention in Brisbane to “remediate all impacts” of the incident.

During a bail variation hearing in Brisbane on Friday, a judge removed previous conditions that ordered Mr Alias to remain on the ship and in the country.

Mr Alias has now been permitted to return to his home in Malaysia and resume work, but must return to Australia when ordered to appear in court in person.

The new conditions require Mr Alias to pay the court a deposit of $60,000 before his passport is returned to him.

The matter was adjourned and is expected to be heard again in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on July 27.