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Australia: Foreign Replacement Crew Not Paid

CSL Melbourne
Australian crew protesting on CSL Melbourne in February 2016.

By MarEx 2016-10-09 17:58:13

A bulk carrier granted a temporary license by Australia’s federal government to replace an Australian ship has been labeled an outrageous disgrace by ITF Australia following revelations the ship’s crew hasn’t been paid for several months.

The ITF says it has again exposed blatant abuse of Australian shipping legislation and human rights on a flag of convenience ship alongside the Queensland Port of Gladstone.

The Maratha Paramount is carrying the cargo of CSL Melbourne after the Australia crew was dragged off the ship by police and security guards earlier this year in Newcastle. The CSL Melbourne has been running alumina between Newcastle and Gladstone for the past five years.

The bulk carrier, registered in the Marshal Islands, owned by Sea King LLC in India, managed and crewed by ASP India and chartered by Pacific Aluminum based in Newcastle was inspected this week and found not to have paid her crew since July this year.

ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers says to make matters even worse they have breached Australia shipping regulations which state that ships trading in our domestic market replacing our domestic crews must pay award minimum rates.

"These bludgers haven’t paid one cent in home allotment wages for months and conditions on board are atrocious," Summers said. "There is very little food, drinking water is brown and the crew are miserable.

"We are calling on the department of infrastructure to withdraw the license immediately and review the conditions under which the licenses are issued to include human and workers’ rights. It is an outrage that Australian crews are dumped and replaced by vulnerable workers who aren't even paid."

The ship is currently holding at least two government permits, one for Pacific Aluminum and one for 105 voyages for Incitec Pivot, says Summers.

Australia has cabotage laws which cover trade through domestic ports and the use of both Australian-flagged and Australian-crewed vessels. The Australian senate voted in November 2015 to retain these laws, yet the government has pushed ahead with issuing temporary licenses. In a second case, the sacked crew of MV Portland was forced from the ship in February. They were replaced by an Indian crew.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.