The International Transport Workers’ Federation is appalled by the fact 20 international crew members have now been stranded on a foreign-owned coal ship off the Port of Gladstone for six weeks.
The 20 Chinese nationals aboard the foreign owned and chartered Five Stars Fujian have been stuck there since July 19 when the owners vanished, despite the fact the vessel is carrying up to $40 million of coal loaded at Hay Point, near Mackay.
The ship was detained by Australian authorities last month due to deficiencies regarding a lack of fuel and food for the return voyage to China, in addition to what is now three months of unpaid pages.
ITF Assistant Coordinator Matt Purcell said that despite one food drop made by authorities, neither the ITF nor Mission to Seafarers have been granted access to the crew and their supplies are again running low.
“Welfare agencies have so far been denied access and there is no end in sight for these unfortunate souls. This has gone on for long enough – it’s time these seafarers are allowed to come onto dry land for humanitarian shore leave,” Mr Purcell said.
“This whole scenario is a disgrace. Even when they were being paid, the crew was barely receiving $2 an hour, which is well below international standards.
The Chinese owners, Fujian Shipping based in Hong Kong, have failed to respond to any request from Australian maritime authorities.
“The owners must immediately pay the crew, feed the crew and cover their work conditions with an acceptable ITF-approved agreement so they can make their scheduled voyage to China,” Mr Purcell said.
“At a time when the Australian shipping industry is being decimated, this is just another blight on the Federal Government for allowing this type of dodgy foreign operator on our coast.”