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Australia Bans Bulk Carrier Over Multiple Deficiencies

The Panama-flagged Babuza Wisdom. Photo courtesy AMSA

Australia Bans Bulk Carrier Over Multiple Deficiencies

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 6154
June 1, 2023

Panama-flagged bulk carrier Babuza Wisdom has been banned from Australian waters for a period of 90 days by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) due to numerous detainable deficiencies, including a faulty rescue boat engine.

The vessel is operated by Taiwan-based Well Shipmanagment & Maritime Consultant Company Limited, a company with a track record of poor performance and repeated run-ins with safety regulators. Their fleet has a detention rate that is over five times the average for ships visiting Australian waters.

AMSA had issued several warnings to the company regarding other ships in their fleet that had been detained in recent years. As a result, Babuza Wisdom was identified as a high-risk vessel and was scheduled for an inspection by AMSA in Geelong on May 17, 2023.

During the inspection, AMSA inspectors discovered a “plethora” of deficiencies, including a defective rescue boat engine, malfunctioning reserve batteries for the MF and HF radio systems, and systemic maintenance and reporting failures within its safety management system. The AMSA said these deficiencies posed a significant risk to both safety and the environment, resulting in the Babuza Wisdom’s immediate detention.

Michael Drake, the Executive Director of Operations at AMSA, said the defective rescue boat engine alone compromised the ship’s ability to respond to emergencies such as a man overboard event, making detention necessary.

“Compounding this was the defective reserve batteries for MF and HF radio systems which means the ship had no radio back-up if it lost main engine power, which is a feasible scenario given its maintenance and reporting failures,” said Drake.

A review of regulatory interactions with other ships operated by Well Shipmanagment over the past three years revealed significant systemic failings and a pattern of unacceptable performance. Despite repeated warnings from AMSA to meet international standards, the agency says the company has consistently demonstrated systemic deficiencies that endangered the safety of seafarers and the environment.

“That is why we have taken the step to ban Babuza Wisdom from Australian waters for 90 days, which will send an even clearer message to the operator about the gravity in which we regard our role as a safety regulator and our zero-tolerance approach to sub-standard ships,” Drake added.

The latest action comes as AMSA is cracking down on poor performing operators in the maritime industry.

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