“Unseaworthy” Bulker Banned from Australia for Three Months

Peace was banned for three months due to maintenance issues (AMSA photo)

Published Jun 4, 2024 12:46 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reports it has banned its third ship in 2024, this time citing an “unseaworthy” condition for the action. The authority is known for a strict policy and for taking actions both to protect seafarers and the Australian environment.

The bulker Peace (175,858 dwt) had its second failed Port State inspection in approximately eight months during a port call to Newcastle, Australia in May 2024. AMSA reports the vessel was detained for “a lack of maintenance and serious deterioration of fixtures and fittings such as hatches.” AMSA Acting Executive Director Operations Greg Witherall said the watertight and weathertight failures on the Peace had “catastrophic potential.”

The Peace was built in 2010, she was sold in September 2023 coming under the management of Danaos Shipping of Greece. The bulker is registered in Cyprus and arrived in Australia on May 30. The following day she underwent a focused inspection because of AMSA’s previous experiences with Danaos vessels. She was detained on May 31 and released on June 3 after the deficiencies were addressed to the satisfaction of AMSA.

“Allowing a ship to fall into a state of deterioration is completely unacceptable – there are no excuses for this level of neglect,” said Witherall. “The state of Peace was so poor that it represented a very real and unacceptable risk to the safety of seafarers onboard and Australia’s marine environment. Ships cannot be operated in this unseaworthy state.”

It was the second time AMSA had cited the same vessel for deficiencies. In October 2023, they reported 10 deficiencies on the ship during her prior inspection. They listed a range of safety and operational issues but the vessel was not detained.

AMSA, however, issued a letter of warning to Danaos in January 2024 over safety concerns on its vessels. The warning came after another Danaos-managed vessel, the containership Suez Canal (71,359 dwt), was detained for 12 days over a range of safety concerns. The vessel which has a capacity of 5,600 TEU, is registered in Liberia and operating under Danaos’ management since 2015. She was built in 2002.

The warning letter “urged the company to rectify the systemic issues which led to the Suez Canal being detained,” said Witherall. A monitoring program also commenced under which AMSA reports all company ships are eligible for inspection every three months as part of ongoing compliance activities.

“Fast forward 5 months and we have had yet another one of Danaos Shipping’s vessels, the Peace, detained in an Australian port for a lack of maintenance and serious deterioration of fixtures and fittings such as hatches,” said Witherall. 

The Peace departed Australia on June 4 bound for China. After the detention was cleared and the departure completed, AMSA slapped the vessel with a three-month bad from Australian waters.