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Seafarers steadfast in affirming their rights

Australian maritime authorities intervened for unpaid crew after receiving a complaint

It is clear the seafarers at large understood they need not put up with mistreatment. A Filipino-owned bulk carrier was banned from Australian ports for 6 months after being found guilty of retaining crew without wages.

Repeat offender

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) got wind of an employer underpaying their crew, and had them working under expired contracts. AMSA’s inspectors examined the MV Western Callao at Port Adelaide in South Australia on 6 September 2021 after receiving a complaint regarding the underpaying seafarers and repatriation issues. They found incriminating evidence of the employer’s violating contract terms across its 13-member crew, including an outstanding wage of AUD$40,000.

Moreover, the crew’s contract durations were discovered to be only 9 months. Instead, the team remained onboard for more than 1 year! For breaching regulations in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), the employer was ordered to make good the outstanding wages. MV Western Callao was eventually released to Brisbane for crew change, subject to prescribed quarantine conditions. AMSA was subsequently updated that the crew received their wages.

Strike Three!

Michael Drake, AMSA’s Executive Director of Operations, called out Bright Star Shipmanagement Inc’s unacceptable actions. He declared, “In July 2020, we inspected the Western Callao in Port Kembla, New South Wales, and found 8 seafarers onboard for more than 11 months. Another vessel, the Furness Southern Cross, was found to have 10 seafarers onboard for more than 14 months. This is the third ship that we have banned this year for serious and shameful breaches of the MLC!”

“Australia has zero tolerance for crew underpayment. This type of behaviour is unethical and in complete contravention to the Convention. The international conventions that protect seafarers’ rights are very clear. Ships visiting Australian ports are on notice that they can expect penalties if we uncover deliberate underpaying of crew and attempts to deceive authorities,” he stressed. Drake added seafarers were making enormous sacrifices being away from home for extended periods of time, just to keep critical global trade moving.


Crewing Online News Team
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