Australia issues 24-month ban to carrier for safety violation

The Australian authority expects that any vessel operating or traveling through its waters is seaworthy.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has on 8 January issued its most severe ban to date to the master and operator of the Marshall Islands flagged livestock carrier, Barkly Pearl, which was initially spotted on the 3rd November 2020 travelling through Australia’s northern waters with a large hole in its hull. 

Due to concerns over the structural integrity of the vessel, the potential threat of pollution to the marine environment and the immediate risk to the seafarers’ safety, AMSA issued an intervention direction instructing the vessel to the nearest safe harbor at Geraldton.

For the past two months, AMSA ship inspectors worked with the vessel owners and operators to develop an appropriate repair solution and on 7 January, the Barkly Pearl was loaded onto the MV Falcon, a semi-submersible Heavy Load Carrier to safely depart from Australian waters.

Before it could depart Australian waters, the Barkly Pearl was issued with a refusal of access direction notice, under the Navigation Act 2012.  

AMSA’s General Manger Operations, Allan Schwartz, said this means the Barkly Pearl is banned from entering or using an Australia port for 24 months.

“This is a significant decision by AMSA.  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 traveling 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. 

“The owners and operators of the Barkly Pearl were negligent in their maintenance of the vessel, put the lives of the seafarers on board at risk and posed an immediate threat to Australia’s marine environment.   

“As a result, AMSA has determined that the Barkly Pearl should be banned for two years.”

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