BBC Weser deemed unsafe and banned from Australian waters
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Antigua Barbuda-flagged general cargo ship BBC Weser from Australian waters for 90 days. The authority notes that the vessel, operated by Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co was banned for being in an unsafe and unseaworthy condition, as well and unacceptable risk to Australia’s precious marine and coastal environment.
This is the second ship AMSA has banned from Australian waters in a week, following the 90-day ban issued to the Babuza Wisdom, a bulk carrier. AMSA detained the BBC Weser in May 2023, after inspectors found a significant number of ballast air vents onboard were defective, the authority’s notice reads.
Functional ballast air vents are critical safety components that prevent water entering a ship, while allowing air to escape, preventing a dangerous vacuum from developing inside a tank.
History of poor performance
The authority pointed that the ship’s operator has a history of poor performance, with one-in-five of their ships having been detained in Australia since May 2021. This rate is more than three times the average for ships visiting Australian waters, the statement reads.
AMSA had twice contacted Briese Heavylift GmbH & Co to warn them of their poor performance and the potential consequences of further detentions, or more serious compliance and enforcement action.
Previous detentions were due to defective emergency generators and unsafe work platforms – negligence which led to a crew member being critically injured while working on one of their ships.
BBC Weser poses a risk
AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said the banning sent a clear message to the operator, and the wider shipping industry, that sub-standard ships will not be tolerated in Australian waters.
“BBC Weser poses a significant risk to the safety of the seafarers onboard, and Australia’s precious marine and coastal environments,” Drake said. “The defects on the BBC Weser are especially concerning, as they are detainable deficiencies that would have been obvious to anyone onboard, and that the operator could not have pleaded ignorance to.”
“AMSA has a world class reputation for being a tough-but-fair safety regulator, and we are dedicated to meeting international standards for safety in shipping,” Drake said, adding that sub-standard ships and their operators have been warned.