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M/V Big Lily. Photo courtesy Australia Maritime Safety Authority

M/V Big Lily. Photo courtesy Australia Maritime Safety Authority

Containership Banned from Australian Waters for Serious Safety and Maintenance Issues

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5355
October 2, 2023

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a 90-day ban to the Marshall Island-flagged containership Big Lilly over significant safety and maintenance problems.

The Big Lilly was initially detained in Melbourne following an inspection by AMSA port State control (PSC). The inspection revealed serious defects that posed a heightened risk to the health and safety of the crew members on board as well as the Australian coastal environment. The defects included issues with the ship’s cargo hatches, main engine, and safety equipment, specifically related to watertight integrity.

The AMSA acknowledged that while crew members on board the vessel had taken steps to maintain the ship, it appears they did not receive adequate support from the ship’s management to meet international standards.

The AMSA notes that it is second time the Big Lilly has faced detention this year. In May, AMSA inspectors found 23 serious deficiencies, with seven being serious enough to warrant detention. However, not all of these deficiencies were adequately rectified, despite an agreed action plan from the operator.

The operator of the ship, V Ships Greece, has been marked by the AMSA as a poor performer with a detention rate of 16% compared to the average of 6% for all foreign vessels, putting it on notice to take positive steps to ensure compliance.

AMSA Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake, stressed the seriousness of the situation, stating that V Ships Greece failed to bring the vessel up to the required standards while other operators in similar situations did.

“Operators of vessels must understand that maintaining their vessels is their responsibility and failing to do so can result in serious consequences, which may endanger lives and impact the Australian coastline,” said Drake. “The ban was necessary to send a strong message that AMSA has a zero-tolerance approach to operators which allow their ships to deteriorate to such an extent.”

This ban is the third imposed by AMSA this year due to maintenance issues as it cracks down on “poor performers” in the maritime industry.

Last year, AMSA issued a Marine Notice to give clear guidance to vessel operators regarding planned maintenance on ships, so Drake said operators have no excuse for not maintaining their vessel.

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