Australia bans second bulker this week

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned another Liberian-flagged bulk carrier this week — this time, the 93,200 dwt TW Hamburg.

As informed, AMSA boarded the ship in Gladstone on 24 July 2020 after receiving correspondence that seafarers onboard had expired employment agreements and requested repatriation. Further information and assistance was provided by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Image Courtesy: AMSA

During the inspection, AMSA was approached by seafarers who claimed they had been underpaid. Evidence was collected during AMSA’s inspection which substantiated these allegations and confirmed that crew were owed about AUD $42,000.

Crew were found to have duplicate seafarer employment agreements with a difference in wages between the two agreements of about 25%. They were being paid based on the agreement for the lower amount.

AMSA also discovered that the quantity and quality of food provided was well below the standards required by the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), in addition to the ship’s “very poor hygiene practices”.

The crew are now being repatriated after rightly refusing to continue working under such “atrocious conditions”, according to AMSA.

AMSA Acting General Manager Operations Michael Drake said this constituted a serious breach of the Maritime Labour Convention which upheld the rights of seafarers to decent working conditions.

“Taking financial advantage and mistreating seafarers in this way is nothing short of exploitation by people in powerful positions,” Drake said.

“The majority of industry operators do the right thing by their seafarers, but for the few who do not – consider this a reminder that you will be held accountable.”

Drake said that AMSA has banned 16 ships from Australian ports since 2014, the majority for failing to pay seafarers their wages on time and in full. Earlier this week, the maritime authority banned Greek-owned Liberia-flagged bulker Agia Sofia for underpaying crew.

Additionally, Fortune Genius and Xing Jing Hai were both banned in September 2019 for collectively owing their seafarers AUD $240,000.

“Any ship that arrives in Australia under such conditions can expect the same treatment. We will not tolerate the exploitation of seafarers in our waters,” AMSA Acting General Manager Operations stressed.

AMSA has received confirmation that the seafarers from TW Hamburg have now been paid their outstanding wages and have come ashore to be repatriated to their home country.

The vessel has departed Gladstone and will not be permitted to approach or enter an Australian port until 29 July 2021.

Built in China in 2012, TW Hamburg is owned by Singapore-based Yangzijiang Shipping, VesselsValue’s data shows.

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