The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Antigua Barbuda-flagged general cargo ship BBC Weser from Australian waters for 90 days for being in an unsafe and unseaworthy condition as well as and an unacceptable risk to Australia’s precious marine and coastal environments.
Functional ballast air vents are critical safety components that prevent water entering a ship, while allowing air to escape, preventing a dangerous vacuum from developing inside a tank. To remind, the U.S. Coast Guard the Coast Guard in 2022 issued 25% more deficiencies for noncompliance with the regulations about ballast water management.
According to AMSA, the ship’s operator, Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co, has a history of poor performance, with one-in-five of their ships having been detained in Australia since May 2021. This rate is more than three times the average for ships visiting Australian waters.
AMSA had twice contacted Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co to warn them of their poor performance and the potential consequences of further detentions, or more serious compliance and enforcement action.
Previous detentions were due to defective emergency generators and unsafe work platforms – negligence which led to a crew member being critically injured while working on one of their ships.
AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said the banning sent a clear message to the operator, and the wider shipping industry, that sub-standard ships will not be tolerated in Australian waters.
The defects on the BBC Weser are especially concerning, as they are detainable deficiencies that would have been obvious to anyone onboard, and that the operator could not have pleaded ignorance to.
… said Michael Drake, AMSA Executive Director of Operations
He also added that AMSA has a world class reputation for being a tough-but-fair safety regulator, and they are dedicated to meeting international standards for safety in shipping. Sub-standard ships and their operators have been warned.