AMSA inspected the ship in the Port of Brisbane on 14 March, after receiving a complaint which alleged that crew had been underpaid. Upon inspection, AMSA found evidence that crew had been underpaid for the previous four months (November 2017 -February 2018) and were owed more than AU$53,000. The outstanding wages had been transferred to the crew just 24 hours before the inspection. AMSA’s General Manager of Operations, Allan Schwartz, said:
Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a clear and unacceptable breach of the Maritime Labour Convention.
Further breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention were also found during the inspection, relating to hours of rest and fitness for duty, Mr Schwartz said, placing the safety of the crew and the ship at risk.
The inspection also revealed that two of the ship’s four generators were defective, as well as the starboard main engine fire damper. In total, 24 deficiencies were issued to the MSC Kia Ora, leading to detention, the same evening.
On 25 March, AMSA reinspected the vessel and found all detainable deficiencies had been rectified. As such, the ship was released from detention and immediately issued with a ban, preventing it from accessing Australian ports for a period of three months.
MSC Kia Ora is operated by Vega-Reederei, the same company which operated the Vega Auriga,which AMSA banned in 2014. Mr Schwartz added:
Sub-standard and poorly managed ships that place the welfare of their crews at risk will not be tolerated in Australian waters.
AMSA has banned five ships in the past two years, four of which were related to seafarer's unpaid wages.