THE AUSTRALIAN Maritime Safety Authority has issued a legal direction to the Port of Albany to allow the ICS Silver Spirit to enter the port for repairs.

ICS Silver Spirit is a geared multi-purpose cargo vessel, flagged in the Bahamas and built in 2006, according to the website of the vessel’s operator, Inco Ships. The vessel is 136.4 meters in length (LOA) and has a cargo capacity of 13,479 DWT.

On 6 February AMSA received a report that the vessel was “experiencing reduced speed after anchoring to undertake engine maintenance”, according to a media release from the authority.

The vessel has continued to have serious engine issues that require further repairs.

AMSA maritime emergency response commander Mark Morrow said AMSA had made this direction to protect the local marine environment.

“AMSA has a responsibility to take action to protect the marine environment and the safety of mariners,” he said.

“We have significant concerns about the condition of the ICS Silver Spirit, and no one wants to see this vessel run aground. As such, AMSA has taken decisive action to direct the port authority to accept this vessel.

“We have been monitoring the situation over the past few days and will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the Western Australian government, to ensure the vessel and its crew port safely.”

This direction has been issued through AMSA’s powers under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, which gives the agency the power to protect the marine environment when it comes to shipping.

Over the past 12 months, AMSA said it had noticed an increased frequency of casualty events involving merchant vessels.

“The common denominator contributing to these events is failures of a vessels power generation and/or main engines,” the authority said.

“AMSA will continue to place a greater focus on planned maintenance of propulsion and auxiliary systems and will take necessary compliance actions to address any areas of concern.”