Australian ITF Raises Concerns Over Alleged Crew Bashings

ITF Australia is highly concerned about the welfare of at least two crew members onboard the BP Chartered "Britto" after receiving cries for help this morning.

The Panamanian registered FOC tanker had been working on the Australian coast, servicing BP's domestic fuel trade under an ITF International Minimum Standards Agreement for its Filipino, Bangladeshi and Korean crew.

The ITF has been called on to protect at least two seafarers who have allegedly been bashed onboard for refusing to sign a sub-standard industrial agreement from the ship's Korean owners. It was further reported that other crew were threaten be thrown overboard by the ship's master if they did not comply.

Representatives from the ITF have exposed the dark history of the ship, which has been trading under Australian government permits to Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, Geelong, Port Botany and Adelaide.

On two occasions, the ship owners have been forced to pay significant back wages to the crew and on at least one occasion the ITF understands that the crews were forced to repay their wages back to the captain.

"This is the real cost of Flag of Convenience (FOC) shipping in our domestic trade - unpaid wages, stand over tactics and crews living in fear of persecution," said ITF Australia National Coordinator Dean Summers.

"The ITF calls on the federal government not to issue any more trading permits to this ship or others in its huge tanker fleet.

We demand BP Australia take responsibility for their chartered crew's safety welfare and call on all ship operators to respect workers' fundamental rights."

All calls to BP Australia by the ITF on this matter have so have gone unanswered.