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Australia detains ship after ITF finds crew underpaid

06 Sep 2019

The Australian authorities have detained a Chinese-owned bulk carrier after an ITF inspection revealed that the crew had not been paid their full wages.

An ITF inspector boarded the Panama-flagged Fortune Genius when it docked in Gladstone, Queensland and found that eight crew members from Myanmar had been underpaid by AUSD8,000 each during the past six months. The crew members told the inspector that they had been bullied and forced into working excessive hours for which they were not paid, and they wanted to be repatriated home.

The ITF also found that documents had been used fraudulently to conceal the theft of the men’s wages and breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

Following these findings, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained the vessel, which had been chartered to carry coal to South Korea.

ITF assistant coordinator Matt Purcell explained that the ITF had inspected the ship because the owner had previously been found in breach of the MLC.  “We will be working with AMSA and the shipowner to ensure the crew are paid their outstanding wages and repatriated to Myanmar before the vessel is allowed to leave Gladstone.”

Pointing to the growing use of highly-exploited foreign workers in Australian waters, and calling for the strengthening of shipping laws, ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “The detention of this vessel by AMSA is welcome, but the current system relies on the efforts of ITF inspectors and whistle-blowers among ship crews to identify problems, meaning countless cases of exploitation are slipping through the gaps.”

------------------------------------------------PROBLEMS WITH PAY? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Are you having problems with getting your pay in full? If you are, this could be a sign that your company is in economic trouble. You should contact your union or the ITF directly as soon as possible to protect your wages and employment.

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