On Monday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) banned the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kia Ora from entering the country’s ports after its operator failed to maintain critical equipment and pay the vessel’s crew.
An inspection conducted by AMSA at the Port of Brisbane on 14 March revealed that two of the Kia Ora’s four generators had serious defects, as well as the starboard main engine fire damper.
The authority also uncovered evidence that the crew had been underpaid by a total of AU$53,000 between November 2017 and February 2018. The outstanding wages were paid to the crew just 24 hours before AMSA was due to inspect Kia Ora.
“Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a clear and unacceptable breach of the Maritime Labour Convention,” says Allan Schwartz, AMSA’s general manager of operations.
According to Schwartz, further breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention were found during the inspection relating to hours of rest and fitness for duty, placing the safety of the seafarers and the ship at risk.
A total of 24 deficiencies were issued to the Kia Ora, which was detained on the evening of its inspection. The vessel was released on 25 March once the offences had been rectified and was issued a ban from entering Australian ports for three months.
AMSA has banned just four other vessels in the past two years.
“Sub-standard and poorly managed ships that place the welfare of their crews at risk will not be tolerated in Australian waters,” says Schwartz.