THE AUSTRALIAN Maritime Safety Authority has issued a 90-day ban for the general cargo ship BBC Jade after inspectors at Port Alma found 57 tonnes of explosive substances incorrectly stowed on board 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.
The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged ship is the third Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co ship banned from Australian waters this year.
In June, AMSA issued the BBC Weser with a 90-day ban after AMSA inspectors determined the vessel was in an unsafe and unseaworthy condition.
The BBC Pearl was banned for 180 days the following month for multiple failures of its safety management system.
AMSA said Briese Heavylift has a history of poor performance, and the authority has issued multiple warnings that future safety violations would lead to strict enforcement action.
Acting AMSA executive director of operations Evan Boyle 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.”
Mr Boyle said this is a serious maritime safety issue, as well as a major environmental concern, and not something that should be taken lightly.
“I hope this ban sends the message that Australia takes the IMDG Code very seriously,” he said.
Mr Boyle said the repeated safety concerns on board Briese Heavylift vessels were 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.”
AMSA said additional safety violations on board the BBC Jade had also been identified by Antigua & Barbuda Flag State Control and are currently in the process of being rectified.