Five Stars Fujian Owners Pay for Supplies
The owners of a bulk carrier stranded off the coast of Gladstone have paid for supplies, however the issue of the crew's wage issue is still uncertain, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says.
The 93,000 tonne Five Stars Fujian and its crew of 20 Chinese nationals were detained last Friday by AMSA after they found the company had breached the Maritime Labour Convention in relation to insufficient food and wages. AMSA supplied the crew with three days-worth of emergency provisions.
Gladstone Port Corporation made a helicopter drop of food to the stranded seafarers and more supplies were sent out by boat, but the ship does not currently have enough fuel to continue its voyage.
AMSA was notified on Tuesday afternoon that the owners, Five Stars Fujian Shipping of Hong Kong, had transferred money to a supplier to load the ship with enough fuel and food for the voyage back to China.
The crew members told ITF inspectors they have not been paid for more than two months and basic food supplies were due to run out this week.
ITF Australia Assistant Coordinator Matt Purcell says it is shameful conduct in Australian waters by a foreign owned and chartered vessel. “For the owners to abandon their crew, virtually leaving them for dead, is beyond shocking. Even when they were being paid, the crew was barely receiving $2 an hour, which is well below international standards,” Purcell said.
The Hong Kong Shipowners Association has issued a statement saying that while recognising that Hong Kong has not yet had ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention extended to it by China, the Association is extremely concerned about the welfare of the seafarers on the ship, and urges the Hong Kong Government through the Hong Kong Marine Department to provide all necessary assistance to the seafarers, who have effectively been abandoned by the owner of the ship, including the immediate supply of provisions and fuel, as well as the repatriation of the seafarers to their homes if requested by the seafarers.
Arthur Bowring, the Managing Director of the Association, said “there might not be a legal obligation for Hong Kong to provide such facilities, but there is an extremely strong moral and ethical obligation to do so. These seafarers must not be left abandoned without flag State support, especially from the world’s fourth largest flag State, one that has repeatedly promoted the quality of the ships flying its twin flags.”