Container ship MSC Kia Ora banned from Australian ports

Image: David Logan/
Image: David Logan/

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Kia Ora from Australian ports for three months.

The action was taken after its operator Vega-Reederei failed to ensure crew were paid their wages in full and on time, and that critical equipment was maintained.

AMSA inspected the ship at the Port of Brisbane on March 14 after receiving a complaint that alleged that crew had been underpaid.

During the inspection AMSA found evidence that crew had been underpaid for four months (November 2017 to February 2018) and were owed more than AU$53,000 (US$40,750).

The outstanding wages had been transferred 24 hours before the inspection.

AMSA’s General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said failure to pay wages on time was a “clear and unacceptable” breach of the Maritime Labour Convention.

Further breaches relating to hours of rest and fitness for duty placed the safety of the crew and the ship at risk, he said.

In addition, 24 defects were issued to the MSC Kia Ora, including two of the ship’s four generators and the starboard main engine fire damper.

Once repaired, the ship was released from detention on March 25 and immediately prevented from accessing Australian ports for a period of three months.

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