The Barkly Pearl is loaded on board the MV Falcon, January 7, 2021. Photo: AMSA

Australia Has Unseaworthy Livestock Carrier Hauled Away Along with 2-Year Ban

Mike Schuler
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January 11, 2021

Maritime authorities in Australia have banned the livestock carrier Barkly Pearl from its waters for two years after the ship was discovered in Australian waters with a hole in its hull.

The Marshall Islands-registered was initially spotted on November 3, 2020, traveling through Australia’s northern waters with a noticeable list. No livestock were on board at the time.  

After determining that the vessel posed a potential threat of pollution and safety to seafarers, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued an intervention order instructing the vessel to the nearest safe harbor at Geraldton, where it arrived safely.

For the past two months, AMSA ship inspectors worked with the vessel owners and operators to develop an appropriate repair solution, leading to the Barkly Pearl being loaded onto the semi-submersible heavy lift ship MV Falcon to haul the vessel out of Australian waters. The Barkly Pearl was subsequently loaded on January 7.

Photo: AMSA

Before departing, however, the Barkly Pearl was issued with a refusal of access direction notice under the Navigation Act 2012, effectively banning the vessel from entering or using Australia ports for 24 month.

“This is a significant decision by AMSA. It’s the first time a vessel has been banned from Australian ports for this length of time and it will certainly affect the vessel’s commercial operations,” said AMSA’s General Manger Operations, Allan Schwartz.

“The owners and operators of the Barkly Pearl were negligent in their maintenance of the vessel, put the lives of the seafarers on board at risk and posed an immediate threat to Australia’s marine environment,” Schwartz added.

A screenshot of video taken of the MV Barkly Pearl listing to port, November 3, 2020. Photo courtesy AMSA

The Barkly Pearl incident came only a few months after the sinking of the livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1 during a typhoon off the coast of Japan in early September 2020. There were only 2 survivors, while 41 crew members and nearly 6,000 cattle lost their lives in the accident. The incident prompted authorities in New Zealand to crack down on livestock carrier shipping, which included suspending live exports as shipping companies implemented new safety measures and pending a review of the trade.

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