German shipowner Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co has seen a third vessel banned from sailing in Australian waters in less than six months.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued the 90-day ban against the 12,000-dwt BBC Jade (built 2008) after inspectors in Port Alma found 57 tonnes of explosive substances had been incorrectly stowed on board the vessel during transit.
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code outlines the minimum international standards for the maritime transport of dangerous goods, to ensure their safe carriage and to prevent potential pollution incidents, AMSA added.
In June, AMSA issued the 17,500-dwt BBC Weser (built 2006) with a 90-day ban after AMSA inspectors determined the vessel was in an unsafe and unseaworthy condition.
The 14,400-dwt BBC Pearl (built 2012) was banned for 180 days the following month for multiple failures of its safety management system.
AMSA said Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co has a “history of poor performance” and has been issued “multiple warnings” that future safety violations would lead to strict enforcement action.
Evan Boyle, acting AMSA executive director of operations, said that this breach, coupled with the ongoing poor performance of the operator, meant that a “ban was necessary”.
“Seafarers, and the Australian community, should feel confident that explosive substances are transported safely,” he said.
“Australian companies which are shipping dangerous cargos such as explosives to Australia may wish to exercise further diligence in whose vessels they engage to carry them.
“This is a serious maritime safety issue, as well as a major environmental concern, and not something that should be taken lightly.”
Boyle described the repeated safety concerns on board Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co vessels as “alarming”.
“Australia will not tolerate this ongoing and blatant disregard for maritime safety,” he said.
“We take our role as a regulator seriously, and we expect operators to take their obligations seriously, as well.
“We will not hesitate to take tough enforcement action to keep our seas, and seafarers, safe.”
Additional safety violations on board the BBC Jade had also been identified by the Antigua & Barbuda flag and are currently in the process of being rectified, AMSA said.
“Australia strongly supports flag states proactively ensuring their ships are safe and meet the minimum international standards,” it added.