Debris has started washing up along the NSW Central Coast shoreline after 83 metal containers fell off a freight ship late last week.
Footage has emerged of plastic shards, reusable cups, nappies and surgical masks littered across beaches near Port Stephens.
A fully-loaded Liberian freight ship was hit by heavy waves on Friday, which caused the containers to fall into the water 30km from Port Stephens.
It is understood that none of the containers contain damaging material for the marine environment.
However, there are large amounts of plastic and building materials beginning to wash up.
"We are starting to recover a large amount of plastic, of building materials, of furniture materials and a whole range of packing goods that have come out of those containers," Roads and Maritime Service's Angus Mitchell said.
"It is quite a delicate operation, one to bring the ship in - weather over the weekend did prohibit it coming into a port - and now we are negotiating the ship owner... as to which berth it will come into to unload the remainder of its containers.
<p"At the moment the focus is very much on the cleanup. We have a number of crews in location at the moment, I think we've recovered already around five skip bins full of debris."
Ships in the area have been warned to keep an eye out for rouge containers which may damage other vessels in the water.
According to the ABC, locals have started work on the cleanup, with carloads of debris removed from the beaches.