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Pilot company offers to preinspect Australia-bound ships

Written by Nick Blenkey

reef-pilots-bgAUGUST 21, 2013 — Australian Reef Pilots (ARP), a pilotage company that provides licensed pilots for the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef, is broadening the range of services that it provides.

Describing it as “a push to prevent hundreds of dangerous, unseaworthy ships from being detained at Australian ports,” the company has started providing ship safety audits at overseas ports to assess whether foreign ships bound for Australia are up to standard.

ARP General Manager Alan Maffina said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) aimed to randomly inspect about 80 percent of vessels calling at Australian ports and would not hesitate to delay any that were not up to scratch.

“195 foreign ships were detained in the year to May,” Mr Maffina said. “Most were held for a few days but several were tied up for more than a week and one was kept idle for 47 days while its faults were fixed.

“These ships were found to have hundreds of deficiencies including defective air vents, broken fire extinguishers and out-dated charts.

“It is alarming when AMSA inspectors reveal that crews are unable to launch life boats or close engine room fire dampers.”

ARP’s new inspection service aims to find the faults so they can be rectified before the ships reach Australia, saving time and reducing the risk of an accident.

“We are proud that Australia’s Port State Control is one of the world’s strictest regimes,” Mr. Maffina said. “It needs to be to protect our precious marine environments from any unnecessary threat.”

“Shipowners must also weigh up the cost of having a ship detained which, in the current shipping market, could cost up to $25,000 a day,” he added. “That doesn’t take long to rack up an enormous bill.

“ARP is committed to protecting our coastline and proud to be known as Guardians of the Reef. We urge all foreign ships to take advantage of this pre-inspection service.”

AMSA Ship Detention List – Most Common Deficiencies:

  • Damaged ventilation and funnel dampers in engine room
  • Poor/non-existent lifeboat operations
  • Unmaintained fire equipment
  • Sewage plant failure
  • Sub-standard safety and fatigue management
  • Out-dated voyage charts
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