The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned a Papua New Guinea-flagged cargo ship named Kiunga Chief from entering or using its ports for a three-month period, due to the vessels' repeated failure to meet safety requirements.

The ban was imposed after the ship was detained for a third time in less than 18 months as its operators were deemed unable to safely and effectively manage the vessel's operations.

Kiunga Chief has been intimated with a total of 79 deficiencies by AMSA between 14 August 2015 and 29 May 2017.

The deficiencies mainly relate to a failure to maintain critical equipment, including the ship’s engines, fire extinguishing systems and inadequate food provisions.

Other factors in the ruling included unsanitary living conditions such as defective toilets and water leakage into cabins, inadequate training and pay for crew members, in addition to evidence of personnel exceeding the limit of 72 hours of work in seven days.

"The deficiencies mainly relate to a failure to maintain critical equipment, including the ship’s engines, fire extinguishing systems and inadequate food provisions."

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Operations acting general manager Stephen Curry said: “These are serious and systemic failures on behalf of the ship’s operator which have placed the safety and wellbeing of the crew and the health of Australia’s marine environment at risk.

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“Despite numerous opportunities for improvement, the operator of Kiunga Chief has consistently failed to provide a safe workplace for crew or meet minimum applicable standards, and as such, this ship is unwelcome in Australian waters.

“Let this be a reminder that sub-standard ships will not be tolerated in Australia.”

Kiunga Chief is currently undergoing an inspection by its class society at the Port of Brisbane, Australia.

AMSA’s newly imposed ban will be effective once the vessel leaves the port.