Unseaworthy ship banned from Australian waters

Friday 28 August 2020
Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship BBC Rio, operated by JP Alliance Ship Management, has this week been banned from Australian ports for three months for serious and repeated safety and pollution prevention related failures. 

The ship was detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on 18 August 2020 in Bunbury, Western Australia after a routine inspection revealed 20 deficiencies. This resulted in the immediate detention of the ship.

Those deficiencies ranged from serious electrical hazards, faulty fuel oil leak alarms, defective forepeak tank head, a defective bridge window, a broken sewage treatment plant and significant oil accumulation in the engine room.

AMSA General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said it was the operator’s second run-in with authorities in Australia this year.

“A sister ship, BBC Rainbow, operated by JP Alliance Ship Management was also detained by AMSA in Bunbury on 12 February 2020 for similar failures relating to safety and pollution prevention,” Mr Schwartz said.

“The operator was issued with a formal letter warning that should BBC Rainbow or another ship in its fleet be caught with serious deficiencies in Australian waters again, that it may attract more serious regulatory action.

“Fast forward six months and here we are with BBC Rio in a similar sub-standard condition, placing the safety of the seafarers on board the ship and Australia’s marine environment at risk.

“The message to industry couldn’t be clearer. Sub-standard ships will not be tolerated in Australian waters, which is why this week we have issued a three-month ban to BBC Rio.

“JP Alliance Ship Management has been advised to take appropriate action to improve the maintenance and upkeep of its ships.

“Our powers under the Navigation Act 2012 allow for indefinite banning of entire fleets, and failure to comply with directions carry extensive penalties.”

The BBC Rio is the third ship banned by AMSA this year for serious breaches of international conventions. BBC Rio marks the 17th ship banned by AMSA since 2014. A full list of banned ships is available on AMSA’s website. 

The BBC Rio rectified the most serious safety deficiencies while detained in Bunbury and was permitted to offload its remaining cargo in Adelaide, South Australia as scheduled to avoid any disruption to cargo operations.