The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) containership from entering Australian ports over maintenance and safety-related deficiencies following a string of detentions involving MSC-operated ships.
AMSA issued a 90-day refusal of access direction notice on Sunday against the Liberian-flagged MSC Kymea II.
AMSA says it issued the notice following months of sub-standard performance from the ship’s operator, Cyprus-based MSC Shipmanagement Ltd, including critical maintenance issues.
Over the past two years, AMSA has detained nine MSC-operated ships, including five so far in 2023. AMSA said many of these detentions showed systemic sub-standard maintenance practices onboard.
The AMSA inspection of the MSC Kymea II found 21 deficiencies in total, including a defective free fall lifeboat steering system, defective fire safety systems, dangerously-stored flammable materials, and multiple wasted or missing railing safety chains used to prevent stevedores from falling from heights when lashing cargo.
MSC Kymea II is a 1,732 TEU capacity containership that was built in 2006. AIS data shows she departed Brisbane on Monday.
Another MSC vessel inspected two weeks ago was found with a corroded fuel-oil tank air pipe, and the evidence suggests that the ship attempted to hide the seriousness of the defect from authorities by covering up the rusted pipe with canvas and painting over it, according to AMSA.
AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said the agency’s inspection regime has shown that MSC has failed to meet its obligations to properly maintain its vessels.
“AMSA has zero-tolerance for sub-standard ships operating in Australian waters and we will not hesitate to ban vessels that fail to meet basic safety standards,” Drake said.
“The Australian public has an expectation that ships operating in Australian waters meet or exceed the minimum international standards for safety and environmental protection. Ships should be on notice that this kind of repeated poor performance is not acceptable, and Australia will take action,” he added.
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