Australia bans Dutch ship amid crackdown on ‘bad performers’ Ship’s crew

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has imposed a 90-day ban on a Dutch-flagged vessel as part of a crackdown on “bad performers” in the shipping industry.

AMSA detained the general cargo ship Flevo Canaloperated by the Spliethoff Group after the ship’s lifeboat engine was found to be defective.

AMSA had previously issued two warning letters to Spliethoff, raising concerns about the seaworthiness of their vessels. This latest incident is part of a pattern of unacceptable operator performance that poses a risk to the integrity of the ship, crew safety and the marine environment, AMSA said.

This is AMSA’s fifth arrest of Spliethoff vessels in the past two years. Three of the arrests were related to serious failures in the effective implementation of safe navigation procedures and all occurred in Queensland waters around the Great Barrier Reef.

On February 16, the Master of Florijngracht was fined $6,000 for violating mandatory pilotage laws after the ship illegally entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without a sea pilot.

Michael Drake, AMSA’s Executive Director of Operations, said AMSA takes its responsibilities as Australia’s Maritime Authority very seriously.

“The fact that Spliethoff ships continue to be detained is a testament to their continued and repeated lack of concern for safety and environmental protection,” said Drake. “The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders and we have an obligation to ensure that all vessels entering its waters do so safely and in full compliance with the law.”

The ban of Flevo Canal comes just weeks after AMSA imposed a 90-day ban on the MSC Kymea II, operated by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), due to maintenance and safety deficiencies. The ban follows the arrest of nine MSC-operated ships over the past two years, including five so far in 2023.

“Ship operators should be aware that if we identify unacceptable practices on board ships, AMSA will not hesitate to take action,” Drake said.

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