maryam bulk carrier

File photo shows the Panama-flagged M/V Maryam. Photo: afwan

Australia Bans Decrepit Bulker for Three Years: “This is Unprecedented”

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4600
May 28, 2021

Australia has booted another Aswan Shipping bulk carrier from its ports for serious deficiencies related to vessel maintenance and sub-standard working and living conditions for its crew.

The 36-month ban of the Panama-flagged M/V Maryam comes after one of the longest detentions of a foreign ship in Australian waters, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

“This is unprecedented,” the AMSA said.

Maryam was detained in Port Kembla on 19 February 2021 for numerous deficiencies including issues with its safety equipment and inoperative electricity generators.

Not only was the ship deemed to be unseaworthy, but the living conditions on board were in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention, with no electricity, no running water, no sanitary facilities and no ventilation – making conditions unbearable for the seafarers onboard, according to the AMSA.

The ban of the Maryam comes after a 18-month ban was issued to the MV Movers 3, another Aswan Shipping bulker, after it was detained in Weipa, Queensland for unacceptable conditions just days after Maryam was detained. Once its failures had been rectified on 29 April 2021, AMSA released it from detention and immediately issued the ban.

The extended ban of the Maryam was due to subsequent issues that were discovered with the ship during its month-long detention.

“Disenfranchised with the operator’s continued reluctance to meet its most basic obligations to maintain its ships and provide decent working and living conditions for crew, roughly half of Maryam’s original crew demanded repatriation,” said AMSA Executive Director, Operations, Allan Schwartz.

According to the ASMA, on 28 May 2021, ten of the original crew were replaced with fresh crew who had recently completed quarantine in Queensland.

“Over the last few months AMSA and other parties involved in this situation, have had to drag Aswan Shipping to the table to resolve the systemic failures on its ships,” said Schwartz.

The 36-month ban is the longest ever issued by the AMSA.

“The length of the banning reflects the seriousness of the operator’s failures to manage the welfare of its seafarers and the standard of maintenance of its ships,” said Schwartz, adding “Aswan shipping has been conspicuous in its absence throughout the detention of Maryam and Movers 3. This has been beyond disappointing.”

“Our message could not be clearer – sub-standard ships that fail to meet internationally agreed safety standards and labour conditions are not welcome in Australian waters.

“Aswan Shipping is officially on notice,” Schwartz added.

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