The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has begun a focused inspection campaign of cargo-securing on container ships visiting Australian ports.
This inspection campaign is in response to serious incidents with shipping containers lost overboard recently.
Container ship APL England lays to off Brisbane in May 2020 after losing 50 container near Wollongong.
Incidents like the losses of 81 containers off Newcastle by the YM Efficiency in 2018, 50 containers off Wollongong by the APL England in May and three containers from the Navios Unite off Cape Leeuwin in June have caused significant environmental damage to Australia’s marine and coastal environment.
Incident investigations by AMSA found improper stacking and securing of cargo and poor maintenance of securing equipment are likely contributing factors.
AMSA Acting General Manager of Operations Michael Drake says that vessels visiting Australia must ensure they fully comply with the international standards relating to cargo securing laid out in Chapter VI of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.
We have seen the serious consequence of improper cargo securing arrangements in the form of tonnes plastics and other debris washing up on our beautiful beaches and floating in our oceans,” said Mr Drake.
Rusted cargo securing points, improper lashings and exceeding stack weight limits have all contributed to these incidents and ship operators should be on notice that non-compliance will not be tolerated in Australia.”
The focused inspection campaign runs from the beginning of August until the end of October and will involve both extended port State control (PSC) inspections and stand-alone inspections on vessels which are not currently eligible for PSC inspection. If a cargo ship visits Australia over this period, the Master should expect that AMSA will visit the ship.
Where vessels are non-compliant AMSA will “take steps” to bring the ship into compliance before it is able to continue operating.
AMSA said ship owners and masters should familiarise themselves with the approved cargo securing manual for their vessel and Marine Order 42 which gives effect to Chapter VI of SOLAS in Australia.
More information can be found on AMSA’s website: www.amsa.gov.au