The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has detained the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier MV Xing Jing Hai in the Port of Brisbane for unpaid crew wages.
AMSA received a complaint from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on Wednesday morning (11th September) alleging the operator had failed to pay crew their wages for the months of July and August.
AMSA surveyors boarded the ship today (11th September) to investigate the allegations.
While on-board AMSA surveyors interviewed the crew and reviewed documentation to determine whether they were being paid in accordance with their Seafarer Employment Agreements as required under the Maritime Labour Convention.
The investigation confirmed crew had not been paid their wages for the previous two months, amounting to about $51,000 USD.
The ship was immediately detained by AMSA for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention, the second in the past week with the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier MV Fortune Genius currently under detention at the Port of Gladstone for unpaid wages as well.
AMSA General Manager Allan Schwartz said failure to pay seafarers their wages in full and on time was a gross breach of their most basic rights to fair employment.
“When you sign a Seafarer Employment Agreement you expect to be properly paid for your work just like any other job,” Mr Schwartz said.
“You have faith that your employer will honour that agreement and your family back home has faith as well.
“It is completely unacceptable for shipping companies to take advantage of their seafarers by withholding their wages and we will not tolerate that in Australian waters.
“If you bring a sub-standard ship into Australian waters or you fail to meet the minimum standards set-out in international laws like the Maritime Labour Convention, we will hold you accountable.
“AMSA has the power to ban ships for repeated poor performance and it’s worth remembering before entering our waters.”
The MV Xing Jing Hai will remain under detention until AMSA is satisfied that all crew have been paid their outstanding wages in full and the company convince AMSA it won’t happen again.