Twenty Chinese nationals are stranded aboard their 2009-built bulk carrier Five Stars Fujian off the coast of Gladstone, Queensland, where the vessels anchored on July 18 after it was arrested by the Federal Court over commercial matters.
The ship was released last week, however, it was afterwards detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority following an investigation which found that the conditions aboard the ship were in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention.
Namely, the crew members informed the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) inspectors they have not been paid for more than two months. The inspectors also found out that the crew’s basic food supplies were running low.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said that emergency supplies are being rushed to the foreign crew members after they were abandoned by the ship owner, the Hong Kong-based Fujian Shipping.
“For the owners to abandon their crew, virtually leaving them for dead, is beyond shocking. Even when they were being paid, the crew was barely receiving $2 an hour, which is well below international standards,” ITF Australia Assistant Coordinator, Matt Purcell, said.
Purcell added that the owners “must immediately pay the crew, feed them and cover their work conditions with an acceptable ITF-approved agreement” so they can make their scheduled voyage to China.
The Chinese owners, Fujian Shipping, have failed to respond to any request from Australian maritime authorities, according to MUA.
The vessel is loaded with around USD 40 million worth of coal it collected at the Port of Hay Point, south of Mackay in Queensland.
Image Courtesy: Shipspotting