The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has, for the first time, banned a vessel from entering or using any port in Australia for 12 months. The unprecedented step was taken after the operator failed to heed repeated warnings relating to navigation and safety deficiencies.
The Indonesian flagged container ship Red Rover was issued with the ban after being detained by AMSA three times since September. The most recent detention was in January in Fremantle, Western Australia. All three detentions identified failings in the vessel's Safety Management System, including a lack of effective passage planning and failure to use appropriate charts and publications.
This is the third vessel operated by PT Meratus Line, which has been prohibited from accessing Australian ports. All three repeatedly demonstrated they were not operating or being managed to meet applicable standards despite repeated advice by AMSA to take action to improve performance. Meratus Sangatta was blacklisted in January, while Territory Trader was slapped with three-month prohibition last November.
In a public statement, AMSA chief-executive Mick Kinley said: "Australia is a signatory to the IMO and ILO conventions and AMSA takes its responsibilities seriously to ensure compliance with all international safety conventions. The unsafe operation of vessels poses an unacceptable risk to seafarers and the environment and AMSA treats any breaches of international shipping standards with the greatest of seriousness.
"A lack of effective passage planning is extremely unsafe, particularly in areas like the Western Australia coastline. Like the Great Barrier Reef, this coastline has environmentally sensitive areas such as Ningaloo Reef and Houtman Abrolhos Islands, with Ningaloo Reef containing IMO-blessed 'area to be avoided' ship routing measures.
"PT Meratus Line has shown a disregard for international standards through repeated breaches and all ships operated by this company are now subject to inspections at every port call," he said.
The Red Rover is the fourth vessel to be banned from Australian ports under the revised Navigation Act which came into effect in July 2013. Australia's Port State Control has established a reputation for being particularly thorough when it comes to checking the status of onboard navigation systems and charts.
Interested readers are invited to review Meratus Line's quality statement online at: