THE AUSTRALIAN Maritime Safety Authority on Monday (27 February) issued a refusal of access direction notice the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kymea II (IMO: 9334844) from Australian ports for 90 days.

AMSA said in a statement it had issued the notice following months of “sub-standard performance from the ship’s operator, MSC Shipmanagement, including critical maintenance issues”.

AMSA said it has detained nine MSC ships over the past two years, including five ships in 2023 alone. Many of these detentions showed systemic sub-standard maintenance practices onboard.

The AMSA inspection of the MSC Kymea II found 21 deficiencies in total, including a defective freefall lifeboat steering system, defective fire safety systems, dangerously stored flammable materials and multiple wasted or missing railing safety chains used to prevent stevedores from falling from heights when lashing cargo.

Another MSC vessel inspected two weeks ago was found with a corroded fuel-oil tank air pipe. AMSA said the evidence suggests that the ship attempted to hide the seriousness of the defect from authorities by covering up the rusted pipe with canvas and painting over it.

AMSA executive director of operations Michael Drake said the agency’s inspection regime has shown that MSC has failed to meet its obligations to properly maintain its vessels.

“AMSA has zero-tolerance for sub-standard ships operating in Australian waters and we will not hesitate to ban vessels that fail to meet basic safety standards,” he said.

“The Australian public has an expectation that ships operating in Australian waters meet or exceed the minimum international standards for safety and environmental protection. Ships should be on notice that this kind of repeated poor performance is not acceptable, and Australia will take action.”

MSC Kymea II is a geared containership, built in 2006, with a cargo capacity of 1732 TEU.

AIS data shows the ship departed Brisbane on Monday and is due in Noumea on Thursday.