Emergency supplies are being rushed to 20 crew members left for dead by the foreign owners of a coal ship stranded off Gladstone’s coast.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation Australia (ITF) says 20 Chinese nationals aboard the Five Stars Fujian have been stranded off the Port of Gladstone since July 19, since the owners “vanished.”
The crew members have told ITF inspectors they have not been paid for more than two months and basic food supplies are due to run out today.
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,” Mr Purcell said.
“The owners must immediately pay the crew, feed them and cover their work conditions with an acceptable ITF-approved agreement so they can make their scheduled voyage to China.
“At a time when the Australian shipping industry is being decimated, this is just another blight on the Turnbull Government for allowing this type of dodgy foreign operator on our coast.”
“Low standards of safety and poor treatment of crew will happen more and more if the Turnbull Government continues down its path of deregulation.
The Chinese owners, Fujian Shipping based in Hong Kong, have failed to respond to any request from Australian maritime authorities.
The crew’s desperate plight came to light last Wednesday when the 93,000-tonne vessel was detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
AMSA supplied the crew with 3 days worth of emergency provisions last Friday. A desperate effort is underway to get them fresh provisions this week.
While it remains in limbo, the Fujian is unable to unload around $40 million-worth of coal it collected at the Port of Hay Point, south of Mackay.