Aust bans container ship

THE Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Liberian-flagged containership MSC Kia Ora from entering or using Australian ports for three months.

The move comes after Vega-Reederei, the ship operator, failed to ensure crew were paid their wages in full and on time and critical equipment was maintained, AMSA said.

AMSA inspected the ship in the Port of Brisbane on March 14, 2018, after receiving a complaint which alleged that crew had been underpaid. During the inspection, AMSA found evidence that crew had been underpaid for the previous four months — November 2017 to February 2018 — and were owed more than $A53,000 ($F83,318).

The outstanding wages had been transferred to the crew just 24 hours before the inspection, according to AMSA.

“Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a clear and unacceptable breach of the Maritime Labour Convention,” AMSA’s general manager of operations Allan Schwartz said.

Further breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention were also found during the inspection relating to hours of rest and fitness for duty, Mr Schwartz said, placing the safety of the crew and the ship at risk.

The inspection also revealed that two of the ship’s four generators were defective as well as the starboard main engine fire damper. In total, 24 deficiencies were issued to the MSC Kia Ora.

AMSA reinspected the MSC Kia Ora on March 25, 2018, and determined that all detainable deficiencies had been rectified. The ship was released from detention and immediately issued with a ban, preventing it from accessing Australian ports for three months.

AMSA has banned five ships in the past two years. The most recent vessel was banned in September 2017 when Panama-flagged bulker DL Carnation was prohibited to enter Australian waters for 12 months.

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