The International Transport Workers’ Federation said that its inspections in Australia’s Western Port and Port Kembla exposed a wage theft aboard a BlueScope-chartered foreign-flagged ship.
Namely, ITF explained that an inspection of the Panama-registered vessel KEN EI in January, led to $38,384 in coastal wages being paid to the 20 Filipino seafarers crewing the ship.
“Upon arriving in Western Port, the crew on the KEN EI immediately asked our inspector about claims for payment for two coastal voyages and requested that the ITF contact the shipowner as they had no correspondence or indication that they would be paid by either the shipowner or charterers BlueScope and Rio Tinto,” Dean Summers, ITF national coordinator, said.
“Wage theft is one of the biggest problems in the global shipping industry. In December last year alone, ITF inspectors conducted 761 inspections and recovered almost $2 million in wages stolen from the world’s seafarers,” Summers added.
In mid-January, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) informed that BHP and BlueScope Steel decided to remove the last two Australian-manned iron ore carriers from the country’s coastal and international trade.
The decision, which would end 100 years of Australian shipping, would make nearly 80 Australian seafarers redundant, MUA earlier said.