After one of the longest detentions of a foreign ship in Australian waters, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a 36-month ban to the Panama-flagged bulk carrier, Maryam for serious deficiencies relating to vessel maintenance and working and living conditions for seafarers. The length of the ban is unprecedented.
AMSA detained Maryam in Port Kembla on 19 February 2021 for numerous deficiencies including issues with its safety equipment and inoperative electricity generators. Not only was the ship deemed to be unseaworthy, but the living conditions onboard were in breach of the Maritime Labor Convention. The ship had no electricity, no running water, no sanitary facilities and no ventilation – making conditions unbearable for the seafarers onboard.
Just days later its sister ship, Movers 3, was detained in Weipa, Queensland for unacceptable conditions. Once its failures had been rectified on 29 April 2021, AMSA released it from detention and immediately issued it with an 18-month ban.
AMSA Executive Director, Operations, Allan Schwartz, said Maryam had an even more protracted detention than Movers 3 because of subsequent issues that arose with the ship as the months dragged by.
“Disenfranchised with the operator’s continued reluctance to meet its most basic obligations to maintain its ships and provide decent working and living conditions for crew, roughly half of Maryam’s original crew demanded repatriation,” Schwartz said. “On 28 May 2021 that finally happened off Brisbane, with 10 of the original crew being replaced with fresh crew who had recently completed quarantine in Queensland.
“Over the last few months, AMSA and other parties involved in this situation have had to drag Aswan Shipping to the table to resolve the systemic failures on its ships.
“Banning the Maryam for 36 months from Australian ports is the longest ever issued by AMSA. The length of the banning reflects the seriousness of the operator’s failures to manage the welfare of its seafarers and the standard of maintenance of its ships.
“Aswan shipping has been conspicuous in its absence throughout the detention of Maryam and Movers 3. This has been beyond disappointing.”
Schwartz said AMSA bans vessels as a last resort, only using them when other actions are not delivering the required deterrent or behavioral changes. They send an unambiguous message to industry that AMSA does not accept sub-standard ships in Australian waters.
“The consequences for bringing sub-standard ships like Movers 3 and Maryam to Australia are both financially and reputationally costly,” Schwartz said. “Our message could not be clearer – sub-standard ships that fail to meet internationally agreed safety standards and labor conditions are not welcome in Australian waters.”
“Aswan Shipping is officially on notice. Any of its ships entering Australian waters will be closely monitored by AMSA and subjected to more frequent inspections as a result of the systemic failures we have found across this operator’s fleet.