The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned Netherlands-flagged general cargo ship Flevogracht owned by Spliethoff from its ports for ninety days. Reason for the ban is ‘ongoing poor performance’.

The AMSA hands down such bans in a crackdown on poor performers in the maritime industry. AMSA detained the general cargo ship Flevogracht, operated by the Spliethoff Group, after the ship’s rescue boat engine was found to be defective.

AMSA had previously issued Spliethoff with two warning letters, outlining concerns over the seaworthiness of their ships. This latest incident is part of a pattern of unacceptable performance from the operator, states AMSA and says this poses a risk to the integrity of the ship, the safety of the crew, and the marine environment.

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Fifth detention of a Spliethoff ship

AMSA has detained five Spliethoff ships in the past two years. Three of these detentions related to serious failures to effectively implement Safety of Navigation processes. All three of these detentions occurred in Queensland waters, around the Great Barrier Reef.

On February 16, the Master of Spliethoff’s cargo ship Florijngracht was fined USD 6000 for breaching compulsory pilotage laws after the ship illegally entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without a marine pilot.

‘The fact that Spliethoff ships continue to be detained is evidence of their ongoing and repeated lack of concern for safety and environmental protection,’ says AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake. ‘The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s great natural wonders, and we have an obligation to ensure that any ships entering its waters do so safely and in full compliance of the law. Ship operators should be on notice that AMSA will not hesitate to take action when we find unacceptable practices on board ships.’

Spliethoff says measures have been taken to address issues

In response to AMSA, Spliethoff has released a written statement: ‘As a company that has been sailing to Australia for over forty years, we are committed to ensuring that all our vessels calling at Australia meet all applicable requirements in the same way we do for the rest of the world and where we have an established reputation for safe operations.’

Spliethoff adds that ‘the incidents that led to the banning of the motor vessel Flevogracht from calling at Australia’ are taken seriously and that additional measures have been taken to ensure that its vessels ‘comply with the various international conventions and standards set for vessel safety, the safety and welfare of seafarers and the protection of the marine environment.’

‘Because we have been providing services to the highest industry standards for more than a century, we are confident that we can achieve the same level of safe operations in Australia as we do with our fleet of more than 110 vessels in the rest of the world,’ Spliethoff concludes.

Picture by AMSA.

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