ITF Releases Photos of Crewmen put at Risk
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has released evidence of safety breaches on board what it calls a flag of convenience ship berthed alongside Pacific Aluminium’s new foreign charter vessel in Newcastle, Australia.
The Greek owners of the Panamanian flagged Christine B have been underpaying its 19 Filipino crew, the ITF says, and also putting their lives at risk by making them clean the cargo hold without proper safety harnesses or equipment.
The ITF has photos of the crew standing unsecured on planks of wood which have been haphazardly tied on by ropes to the inside of the hold, many metres up in the air.
ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers says this highly dangerous job was done while at sea – putting the crew’s lives in further jeopardy.
“This is yet another example of the atrocious alternative to national flagged shipping and a warning of worse to come under deregulated shipping,” Summers said.
The ITF has secured $30,000 backpay for the crew, who have been on board the Christine B for 14 months.
“The conditions on board were disgraceful – there isn’t even a washing machine.”
The Christine B is berthed along side the Skyfall, a vessel chartered by Pacific Aluminium, which does not have an ITF agreement protecting its seafarers’ most basic rights.
Skyfall, operated by another Greek Company Prime Bulk Ship Management has replaced the Australian manned CSL Melbourne, carrying domestic product between Gladstone and Newcastle.
“The ITF has not only been denied access to Skyfall by its Greek owners, but Pacific Aluminium is refusing to reveal who heads up their shipping department,” says Summers.
“The entire operation is top, secret and we fear for the safety and welfare of the crew and their families.”
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