Australia bans containership over repeat offenses

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued an order banning a Liberian-flagged containership MV Vega Auriga from Australia’s ports over repeated breaches relating to seafarer welfare and maintenance of the ship.

AMSA said it has detained the Vega Auriga on three occasions since 25 July 2013 with repeated concerns for the welfare of the crew including improper payment of wages, inadequate living and working conditions and inadequate maintenance resulting in an unseaworthy and substandard vessel.

General Manager of AMSA’s Ship Safety Division, Allan Schwartz, said vessels entering Australian ports must ensure they meet minimum international standards, including that of the recently ratified Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which sets comprehensive minimum requirements for almost all aspects of working and living conditions for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers.

“Vessels that do not meet such standards, including standards for the welfare and treatment of crew, pose an increased risk to seafarers, safe operations and the marine environment.

“Seafarer welfare is just as important as the proper maintenance of ship equipment, and an integral part of safe operations. A failure in either system could lead to serious accidents,” Schwartz said.

AMSA noted that Australia has ratified MLC 2006 and that Australia takes its responsibilities for ensuring compliance with all international safety conventions very seriously.

Schwartz commented: “Seafarers live a tough life under even the best of circumstances, spending many months at sea away from family and friends.”

The ban prohibits the MV Vega Auriga from using or entering any Australian ports and will stay in place for three months, AMSA said.

In both their July 2013 and June 2014 detention lists, AMSA listed the owner of the MV Vega Auriga as Schifffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co KG of Germany and the ISM company as Vega-Reederei GmbH & Co KG, also of Germany.

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