Five Stars Fujian Ready to Sail, Not to Return
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Hong Kong flagged bulk carrier Five Stars Fujian from Australian ports for 12 months.
The Five Stars Fujian has been detained by AMSA off Gladstone since 12 August after AMSA surveyors found the vessel did not have sufficient provisions for its intended voyage and the crew of 20 had not been paid in several months.
The vessel had been at anchor off Gladstone since July when it was arrested by the Federal Court over a commercial matter.
Since the vessel was detained, AMSA has been in regular contact with the owners of the ship, Five Stars Fujian Shipping Co of Hong Kong, to resolve the matters concerning outstanding wages and resupply of the vessel.
AMSA received confirmation on Thursday that outstanding crew wages have been paid, the vessel resupplied with fuel and that sufficient provisions are on board for the vessel’s safe passage. An AMSA inspector attended the vessel to conduct a final inspection and confirm with the crew readiness to sail. The ship has therefore been released from detention at 1300 this afternoon.
Once the detention was lifted AMSA immediately issued the master with a direction notice banning the operators from bringing the vessel to any Australian port for 12 months.
AMSA General Manager of Ship Safety Allan Schwartz said that the conduct of the Five Stars Fujian Shipping Co was completely unacceptable. “The crew of the Five Stars Fujian have been forsaken off the Australian coast for over two months, with limited supplies and thousands of dollars of unpaid wages,” Schwartz said. “This is a completely unacceptable way for a company to treat their crew and this kind of conduct will not be tolerated in Australia.
“While we are pleased that ultimately the issues of outstanding wages and supplies was able to be resolved by those associated with the ship, the amount of time it has taken has been extraordinary. AMSA hopes that this banning will serve as a warning to other shipping companies that if they wish to do business in Australian waters they must abide by their international obligations and manage their crew in a proper manner.”
The International Transport Workers’ Federation has been appalled by situation especially considering the vessel is carrying up to $40 million of coal loaded at Hay Point, Australia.
ITF Assistant Coordinator Matt Purcell said: “This whole scenario is a disgrace. Even when they were being paid, the crew was barely receiving $2 an hour, which is well below international standards. At a time when the Australian shipping industry is being decimated, this is just another blight on the Federal Government for allowing this type of dodgy foreign operator on our coast.”