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Most severe penalty issued to vessel found with damaged hull at sea

damaged hull at sea

Barkly Pearl, spotted with a large hole in its hull banned from Australian waters for two years

Sighted on 3 November 2020 travelling through Australia’s northern waters with a large hole in its hull, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued an intervention direction instructing the vessel to the nearest harbour at Geraldton. Amongst the concerns cited were seafarers’ safety, vessel’s structural integrity and potential threat of marine environment pollution.

AMSA inspectors reportedly worked with the vessel owners and operators to develop an appropriate repair solution. As at 7 January 2021, Barkly Pearl was loaded onto the MV Falcon, a semi-submersible heavy load carrier to safely leave Australian waters. Before the departure, the vessel received a refusal of access direction notice, under the Navigation Act 2012.

Banned from Australian waters for 24 months
Allan Schwartz, AMSA’s general manager explained this notice is a ban for Barkly Pearl to enter or use an Australia port for 24 months. He noted, “This is a significant decision by AMSA. It’s the first time a vessel has been banned from Australian ports for this length of time and it will certainly affect the vessel’s commercial operations.

“The Australian community expects every vessel operating or travelling through our waters is seaworthy. Consequently, when vessels are found to be so poorly maintained, AMSA will not hesitate to use the suite of powers available to it. The owners and operators of the Barkly Pearl were negligent in their maintenance of the vessel, put the lives of the seafarers on board at risk and posed an immediate threat to Australia’s marine environment.”

 Ship maintenance is essential to crew safety and optimum operation. For neglected vessels, it can cause severe environmental and monetary implications. Shipowners and charterers can look to Marine Online’s extensive network for marine services at competitive costs.




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