AMSA bans MSC Kymea II over ‘sub-standard’ performance

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a refusal of access direction notice on Monday to the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kymea II from Australian ports for 90 days.

AMSA logo; Image credit AMSA

AMSA said that the notice followed months of sub-standard performance from the ship’s operator, MSC Shipmanagement Ltd (MSC), including critical maintenance issues.

“AMSA 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 authority pointed out.

AMSA added that the inspection of the MSC Kymea II found 21 deficiencies in total, including a defective free fall 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.

The handy container vessel (1,732 TEU) was built in 2006 by China’s Guangzhou Wenchong for Hamburger Lloyd. The vessel was bought by Swiss-based MSC in February 2021 for an undisclosed price, according to the data from VesselsValue. Offshore Energy has approached MSC for a comment on the matter and is yet to receive a reply.

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According to the Australian statutory authority, another MSC vessel inspected two weeks ago was found with a corroded fuel-oil tank air pipe. AMSA said that 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.”