Photo: “Copyright © AMSA”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned an MSC container ship from Australian port for 90 days.

The refusal of access direction notice, issued yesterday, has been applied to the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kymea II. The authority issued the notice following months of “sub-standard performance from the ship’s operator, MSC Shipmanagement Ltd (MSC), including critical maintenance issues.”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it has detained nine MSC ships over the past two years, including five ships in 2023 alone. “Many of these detentions showed systemic sub-standard maintenance practices onboard,” as the authority claims in its statement.

During AMSA´s inspection on MSC Kymea II it has been found 21 deficiencies in total, including a defective free fall lifeboat steering system, defective fire safety systems, dangerously-stored flammable materials, and multiple wasted or missing railing safety chains used to prevent stevedores from falling from heights when lashing cargo.

Another MSC vessel inspected two weeks ago was found with a corroded fuel-oil tank air pipe, and in accordance with the authority´s claim, the evidence suggests “that the ship attempted to hide the seriousness of the defect from authorities by covering up the rusted pipe with canvas and painting over it.”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake, said the agency’s inspection regime has shown that MSC has failed to meet its obligations to properly maintain its vessels.

“AMSA has zero-tolerance for sub-standard ships operating in Australian waters and we will not hesitate to ban vessels that fail to meet basic safety standards,” he said.

“The Australian public has an expectation that ships operating in Australian waters meet or exceed the minimum international standards for safety and environmental protection. Ships should be on notice that this kind of repeated poor performance is not acceptable, and Australia will take action.”