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Australia Bans Two Bulkers Over Mariner Pay Spat

Image: Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Laxman Pai

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned two foreign-flagged bulk carriers from Australian ports after their crews reported being underpaid.

The Chinese-owned bulk carrier MV Xing Jing Hai and the Panama-flagged MV Fortune Genius were banned for 18 months and 12 months respectively.

AMSA surveyors boarded the Fortune Genius in Gladstone after receiving a complaint via the International Transport Workers' Federation.

AMSA's investigation revealed the crew of the Fortune Genius had been deliberately under paid by the operator, New Fortune Genius Management, by about AUD $100,000 for the months of April to August.

The ship had been operating with two sets of wage accounts, one showing the amount of wages the crew should have been paid and the other showing what they had actually been paid. The ship was immediately detained.

On Wednesday, 11 September AMSA surveyors boarded the Xing Jing Hai in Brisbane following similar complaints from the International Transport Workers' Federation.

The complaints related to unpaid crew wages and the operator, Dalian Ocean Prosperity International Ship Management, has previously been warned over unpaid wages with a sister ship, the Xing Ning Hai.

AMSA's investigation revealed the crew of the Xing Jing Hai had been paid late for the months of May and June, while wages for July and August amounting to about AUD $140,000 were still outstanding.

AMSA General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz issued both ships with bans today, preventing them from entering or approaching an Australian port - 12 months for the Fortune Genius and 18 months for the Xing Jing Hai.

"Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a reprehensible breach of the Maritime Labor Convention and one that AMSA will not tolerate," Schwartz said.

"The operator of the Fortune Genius has acted in a dishonest and predatory fashion towards its seafarers while the operator of the Xing Jing Hai has demonstrated a systemic failure to ensure its seafarers are paid properly. Our powers to ban ships for breaches of international maritime regulations are clear and these two operators will not make a profit in our waters on the back of modern day slave labour," he added.

Sep 16, 2019

 

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