The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier TW Hamburg from entering or using its ports for a 12-month period due to wage exploitation.
The ship was located at Gladstone and AMSA inspected it on 24 July after correspondence was received that the employment agreements of the seafarers onboard were expired and seafarers requested repatriation.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation provided additional assistance and information.
During the inspection, AMSA was informed by seafarers who said they were underpaid. Evidence from the investigation uncovered that the crew were to receive A$42,000 ($30,081).
Additionally, the crew carried duplicate seafarer employment agreements that had a 25% wage difference and the crew were paid based on the agreement, which quoted the lower amount.
AMSA also uncovered that the quantity and quality of the food given to the crew were below the Maritime Labour Convention standards.
Additionally, the galley and fridges were reported to be filthy and the ship practised poor hygiene practices.
The crew on the ship are being evacuated after they refused to work under the conditions.
AMSA acting general manager operations Michael Drake said: “Taking financial advantage and mistreating seafarers in this way is nothing short of exploitation by people in powerful positions.
“The majority of industry operators do the right thing by their seafarers, but for the few who do not – consider this a reminder that you will be held accountable.
“AMSA has banned 16 ships from Australian ports since 2014, the majority for failing to pay seafarers their wages on time and in full. Earlier this week we banned Agia Sofia for this and Fortune Genius and Xing Jing Hai were both banned in September 2019 for collectively owing their seafarers A$240,000 ($171,891).
“Any ship that arrives in Australia under such conditions can expect the same treatment. We will not tolerate the exploitation of seafarers in our waters.”
AMSA has confirmed with the ship that the payments have been made to the seafarers.
The ship Agia Sofia was banned this week for a six-month period as it underpaid seafarers.