The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Singapore-flagged bulk carrier Western Callao from Australian ports for six months.
AMSA inspected the ship at Port Adelaide in South Australia on September 6, 2021, after receiving a complaint regarding the underpayment of seafarers and repatriation issues.
During the inspection, AMSA found evidence that the employment agreement with the 13 seafarers on board the ship had not been met, and that the seafarers were collectively owed approximately AU$40,000.
AMSA also found evidence the seafarers had been on board for over 12 months, despite ongoing commitments to repatriate the seafarers at the end of their original nine-month contracts. As a result, AMSA detained the ship for multiple breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and the operator was directed to pay the outstanding wages.
The vessel was allowed to sail to Brisbane for a crew change, as they were due to return home, under quarantine conditions approved by QLD Health. AMSA has now received evidence that the crew had been paid.
Michael Drake, AMSA’s Executive Director of Operations, said it was not the first time this company, Bright Star Shipmanagement, had been caught in breach of the MLC.
“In July 2020, AMSA inspected Western Callao in Port Kembla, NSW, finding that eight seafarers had been on board for more than 11 months,” said Mr Drake. “Another company ship, Furness Southern Cross, was found to have 10 seafarers on board for more than 14 months.
“This is the third ship that we have banned this year for serious and shameful breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention.”
Mr Drake added that ships visiting Australian ports are on notice that if AMSA finds deliberate underpaying of crew and attempts to deceive authorities, they can expect penalties.
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