MSC Clears up Australian Ship Ban Confusion


Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has said that it is not involved in a case of seafarer abuse after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) banned the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kia Ora from Australian ports for three months.

The ship’s operator, Vega-Reederei, received the ban on March 26, 2018 after failing to maintain critical equipment and pay crew in full and on time.

In a statement on March 27, MSC said that it is a “responsible employer”, and that it was not involved in the maintenance and workforce of the chartered vessel Kia Ora.

It added: “MSC is not the target of a recent Australian Maritime Safety Authority instruction about crew wages: this is directed to the owner of this vessel.

“The vessel was off-hired immediately upon MSC becoming aware of the AMSA findings.”

AMSA inspected the ship in the Port of Brisbane on March 14, after receiving a complaint alleging that crew were not receiving the correct amount of pay.

During the inspection, AMSA found evidence that crew had been underpaid for the previous four months (November 2017 to February 2018) and were owed more than US$ 40,000 (AU$ 53,000).

The crew received their outstanding wages just 24 hours before the inspection.

Allan Schwartz, AMSA’s General Manager of Operations, said: “Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a clear and unacceptable breach of the Maritime Labour Convention.”

Another breach of the Maritime Labour Convention, found during the inspection, related to hours of rest and fitness for duty, Schwartz said, placing the safety of the crew and the ship at risk.

The inspection also revealed that two of the ship’s four generators were defective as well as the starboard main engine fire damper.

In total, 24 deficiencies were issued to the MSC Kia Ora.

The authority detained the ship the same evening.

AMSA re-inspected the MSC Kia Ora on March 25, 2018, and was satisfied that all detainable deficiencies had been rectified.

It released the ship from detention and immediately issued with a ban, preventing it from accessing Australian ports for a period of three months.

Vega-Reederei is the same company that operated the Vega Auriga, which AMSA banned in 2014.

AMSA has banned five ships in the past two years.

Schwartz said: “Sub-standard and poorly managed ships that place the welfare of their crews at risk will not be tolerated in Australian waters.”

Read more: A new weekly service operated by CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd will be the first to connect the Port of Algeciras Bay with ports in Australia 

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