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Ship that Mistreated Crew Banned from Australia

By MarEx 2014-08-27 19:48:00

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a direction to the container ship Vega Auriga (IMO 9347786) that prohibits the ship from using or entering any Australian ports due to repeated breaches relating to seafarer welfare and maintenance of the ship.

The Vega Auriga has been detained by AMSA 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. 

Deficiencies found since 2011 include faults with fire doors, detection and alarm systems, the availability of fire-fighting equipment, chart and compass issues, cleanliness in food storage areas and the operational readiness of life rafts.

General Manager of AMSA’s Ship Safety Division, Allan Schwartz said vessels entering Australian ports must ensure they meet minimum international standards. “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,” he said.

“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.”

Australia is a signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and AMSA takes its responsibilities for ensuring compliance with all international safety conventions seriously.

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

Those minimum standards are applicable to the 1.4 million seafarers who live and work on international ships.

The direction will remain in place for three months.