AMSA Detains Bulker for Illegal Cargo Unlashing

Australian Maritime Safety Authority has released the Singapore-flagged bulk carrier Orient Becrux from the Port of Newcastle, one day after it detained the 2012-built, 33,383 dwt ship for alleged illegal unlashing of its cargo at sea.

The Orient Becrux was found by AMSA to have breached the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea after the Hong Kong-based charterer reportedly made the Filipino crew unlash the cargo at sea, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, the issuing authority for the Safety Management Certificate and the ship’s Classification Society, conducted an audit onboard ship and requested corrective action regarding ship board procedures and cargo securing.

Australian Health and Safety law dictates that cargo should only be unlashed by qualified Australian stevedores while the ship is berthed. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) believes that some of the cargo included 300 rail cars and other general bulk.

ITF Australia Co-ordinator Dean Summers said that unlashing at sea was an egregious breach of safety by Pacific Basin shipping that had put the whole crew’s life at risk.

“In this instance they were lucky there was no major incident,” Summers said. ”In a worst-case scenario, the shifting cargo could have caused the ship to sink by compromising its stability. There was also the potential for the ship to block the narrow shipping channel of the world’s busiest coal port, all to save a couple of dollars.”

The Orient Becrux is currently en route to Port Lincoln in South Australia.

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