Cargo ship banned from Australian waters for being unsafe and unseaworthy

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Antigua Barbuda-flagged general cargo ship BBC Weser from Australian waters for 90 days because it is in an unsafe and unseaworthy condition – and an unacceptable threat to Australia’s valuable marine and marine life represents coastal environment.

This is the second ship AMSA has banned from Australian waters in a week, following the 90-day ban on the Babuza Wisdom.

AMSA detained the ship in May 2023 after inspectors determined that a significant number of ballast vents on board were defective.

Properly functioning ballast vents are important safety components, preventing water from entering a vessel while allowing air to escape, thus preventing a dangerous vacuum from developing inside a tank.

The ship’s operator, Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co., has had a poor record in the past: one in five of their ships has been detained in Australia since May 2021. This rate is more than three times the average for ships calling at Australian waters.

AMSA had twice contacted Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co. to warn them of their poor performance and the possible consequences of further arrests or more serious compliance and enforcement actions.

Previous arrests have stemmed from failed emergency power generators and unsafe work platforms — negligence that resulted in a crew member being critically injured while working on one of their vessels.

Michael Drake, AMSA’s executive director of operations, said the ban sent a clear message to the operator and the wider shipping industry that inferior vessels would not be tolerated in Australian waters.

“BBC Weser poses a significant risk to the safety of seafarers on board and Australia’s valuable marine and coastal environment,” said Drake.

“The deficiencies on the BBC Weser are of particular concern as they are identifiable deficiencies which would have been obvious to anyone on board and the operator could not have pleaded ignorance.

“AMSA has a world-class reputation as a tough but fair safety agency and we strive to meet international maritime safety standards.

“Inferior vessels and their operators have been warned.”

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