The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued its “most severe ban” up to now to the master and operator of the Marshall Islands flagged livestock carrier, Barkly Pearl.
According to AMSA, the Barkly Pearl was initially spotted on the 3rd November 2020 travelling through Australia’s northern waters with a large hole in its hull.
The hole in the vessel’s hull concerned AMSA given the possibility of either a marine pollution or a safety matter for the seafarers onboard. Consequently, AMSA issued an intervention direction instructing the vessel to the nearest safe harbour at Geraldton.
The past two months, AMSA ship inspectors have been collaborating with the vessel owners and operators to develop an appropriate repair solution and on January 7 2021, the Barkly Pearl was loaded onto the MV Falcon, a semi-submersible Heavy Load Carrier to safely depart from Australian waters.
Yet, prior to the vessel’s departure, AMSA issued a refusal of access direction notice, under the Navigation Act 2012. AMSA’s General Manger Operations, Allan Schwartz, explained that the vessel was no longer able to enter or use an Australia port for 24 months.
Mr. Schwartz commented that
It’s the first time a vessel has been banned from Australian ports for this length of time and it will certainly affect the vessel’s commercial operations. The Australian community expects that any vessel operating or travelling through our waters is seaworthy.
Consequently, when vessels are found to be so poorly maintained, AMSA will not hesitate to use the suite of powers available to it.
Therefore, he added that in case a vessel is found to be poorly maintained, the Authority will ban it.
Mr. Schwartz also referred to the owners and the operators of the Barkly Pearl, saying that they were negligent of the vessel’s maintenance and did not think of the seafarers’ lives onboard that may have been at risk.
Concluding, AMSA banned Barkly Pearl for two years.