ITF: Chinese Junior Officer Dies on Australia-Bound FOC Ship

The reported death of a junior officer on board the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier ”Yangtze Oasis” while the vessel was en route to Australia’s Port of Newcastle is a cause for concern, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said.

The ITF expressed its concern for the remaining Chinese crew of the flag-of-convenience bulker, after the incident was reported to the New South Wales Police on October 30, prior to the vessel’s arrival to the Port of Newcastle.

“We understand that a special Police Maritime investigation team travelled to Newcastle to investigate and have subsequently referred the death to the NSW coroner,” said Dean Summers, ITF National Coordinator.

ITF says that their attempts ”to identify the ship Owners, Operators and Managers have been systematically blocked by Australian agents and others.” 

“Had this ship been a national flag or if she had been covered by an appropriate ITF agreement, we would have immediate access to owners and operators,” Summers said.

“This crew is completely vulnerable and unsupported and the ITF will not stop until seafarers are treated with respect and dignity. We have been advised the Australian exporters are three mines operating in NSW – Endeavor Mines, CSA Mines and Hera Mines – and this is where the buck must stop. Australian exporters must take responsibility for hiring safe ships with responsible operators.”

The vessel’s name and type correspond to the 34,000 dwt Yangtze Oasis which was built in 2013 at CIC Lixin Shipyard, part of China Shipping Industry Co., Ltd. (CIC), for New Yangtze Navigation (Hong Kong), a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Changhang Shipping.

The AIS data shows that the vessel is still in Newcastle.

Australia’s Senate has already started an inquiry into FOC ships, prompted in part by the three deaths reported on the Sage Sagittarius back in 2012.

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