The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has added a new target to its range; cracking down on unseaworthy vessels parking at docks and ports around the world.

Safety auditors will be checking ships and boats at Australian and international ports, making sure vessels coming to the country are all ship-shape as well.

So far this year five ships have been held at the Gladstone Port in Queensland over safety breaches, all of the vessels were bulk carriers, which can have disastrous consequences in the event of a safety breach.

The auditors found a range of problems including serious issues with Safety Management Systems, defective lifeboat release mechanisms and a defective radio. Ships are held at the dock or port until the issues are addressed.