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The owner of a small cruise vessel with numerous safety issues has been convicted for operating despite receiving a prohibition notice from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Operated by Starship Cruises, MV Lady Kendall II was found to have unsecured sewerage tanks and incorrectly configured plumbing, which posed a threat to the safety of passengers and the marine environment.

The prohibition notice was issued at Gosford Public Wharf in October 2020, following a planned vessel inspection carried out by Transport for NSW marine safety inspectors on behalf of AMSA.

Ignoring the prohibition notice, the owner continued to operate the vessel without addressing the identified safety issues.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions laid charges on 14 December 2021 for breach of a prohibition notice under the Maritime Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2021.   

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The owner of the vessel received a $2200 fine, but the breach could have resulted in consequences far more severe than those issued in court.  

“Prohibition notices specify the remedial actions that must be done to avoid worst-case scenarios which could involve injury or even loss of life,” AMSA executive director of operations Michael Drake said.

“The breach in itself is a serious concern—and to then blatantly ignore the prohibition notice and fail to make any safety improvements while continuing to operate the vessel shows a level of disregard for people’s safety and the marine environment that we will not accept.”

Marine inspectors from Transport for NSW perform both planned and unscheduled inspections on behalf of AMSA, to determine whether vessels ensure the safety of passengers, the environment, and vessel operations.

“Owners of commercial vessels are on notice that they have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of passengers and protect Australia’s precious marine environment,” Mr Drake said.

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