A CARGO ship spewing oil, shipping containers and rubbish along the New Zealand coastline after it hit a reef was detained in Fremantle in July for safety and cargo breaches and given three months to repair its ”safety management system”.
The Liberian-flagged MV Rena was inspected again in Sydney on September 22, but the safety management system was not checked because the three months had not expired. It was allowed to sail on to New Zealand.
The MV Rena was detained in Fremantle on July 21 by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority because of problems with hatch covers and cargo storage and its safety management system.
New Zealand Cargo Ship Rena
The stricken Rena leaks more oil on October 13, 2011 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Up to 350 tonnes of oil has spilled from the “Rena” a Liberan cargo ship stricken off the coast of Tauranga since October 5. Photo: Getty Images
A spokesman for the authority said ”two minor defects related to equipment were given two weeks for rectification and these were subsequently verified as completed”.
The third defect with the safety management system was given three months to fix. ”No defects were related to charts, passage planning, navigation equipment or fatigue,” the spokesman said.
A safety management system means a structured and documented system enabling ship personnel to implement effectively the ”company and ship safety and environmental protection policy”.
The ill-fated Rena visited Melbourne on September 19 before heading on to Port Botany on September 22.
Port of Melbourne spokesman Peter Harry said the port considered events such as the Rena incident as a ”high consequence, low probability” event for Port Phillip Bay and worked to minimise the probability.
Peter Corcoran, director maritime safety with Transport Safety Victoria, said ”the mandatory use of pilots for large vessels entering the ports of Melbourne, Geelong, Hastings and Portland is one of Victoria’s key risk controls”.
Phillip Starkins, from the Department of Transport, said the department ”owns, stores and maintains specialised pollution response equipment throughout the state to utilise in the event of an incident”.
A German shipping company was ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines in 2005 after one of its vessels discharged 30,000 to 40,000 litres of waste oil sludge about nine nautical miles off Phillip Island in 2003.