The Filipino seafarers working onboard the Bahamas-registered Flag-of-Convenience (FOC) vessel Diana, owned by Canadian Shipping Lines (CSL) Australia, are underpaid, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said.
The union informed on Tuesday that it had inspected the Handy bulk carrier in Melbourne having received a tip-off.
The Filipino seafarers are effectively operating full time on the Australian coast, according to the union. CSL has recently increased the use of foreign seafarers in coastal trades replacing Australian crew.
Under coastal trading rules introduced in 2012, foreign crew must be paid award rates as the vessel is working more than two domestic voyages in Australian waters.
As informed, CSL Australia has so far refused to sign an industrial agreement guaranteeing international minimum standards on its fleet of deregulated FOC vessels, Acacia, Adelie and Diana.
“Under Australian legislation all foreign workers must be paid award rates while operating in the local trade.
“The ITF has contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to investigate further but we are yet to receive a response.
“These are vulnerable foreign workers used by an Australian company to replace Australian national seafarers working exclusively in the Australian trade.”
“The ITF demands the government investigates these clear breaches of our trading laws immediately and prosecute the perpetrators,” ITF Australia Coordinator Dean Summers said.
When approached by World Maritime News, CSL spokesperson dismissed the allegations.
“CSL refutes the allegations made by the Australian ITF representative. CSL is compliant with all wage and employment requirements applying to all of its seafarers throughout all of its operations, at all times,” the spokesperson said.