The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is repeating its demand that 20 Chinese seafarers, having been stranded aboard the coal ship for six weeks off the Port of Gladstone, Queensland, be allowed to come ashore, according to The Maritime Union of Australia.
The seafarers aboard the Hong Kong-flagged Five Stars Fujian have been stuck off the coast of Gladstone since July 19 when the owners vanished, despite the fact the vessel is carrying up to USD 40 million of coal loaded at Hay Point, near Mackay.
The ship was detained by Australian authorities last month due to deficiencies regarding a lack of fuel and food for the return voyage to China, in addition to what is now three months of unpaid wages.
ITF Assistant Coordinator Matt Purcell said that despite one food drop made by authorities, neither the ITF nor Mission to Seafarers, a welfare agency, have been granted access to the crew and their supplies are again running low.
“Welfare agencies have so far been denied access and there is no end in sight for these unfortunate souls. This has gone on for long enough – it’s time these seafarers are allowed to come onto dry land for humanitarian shore leave,” Matt Purcell, ITF Assistant Coordinator said.
MUA said that the ship’s owner, Fujian Shipping, has failed to respond to any request from Australian maritime authorities.
“The owners must immediately pay the crew, feed the crew and cover their work conditions with an acceptable ITF-approved agreement so they can make their scheduled voyage to China,” Purcell further said.