The International Transport Workers Federation in Australian as part of the Flag of Convenience campaign has launched a targeted inspection of South Australian Bulk ships calling it the ITF “Grain Blitz”.
ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers describes the Blitz as a valuable tool in the FOC campaign, timed to coincide with the export of a bumper grain yield shipped predominately out of key South Australian ports.
On our first day we have discovered two Indonesian seafarers off the “Maria T.L” who have been kept on board for more than two years. Crews off the same ship have reportedly been paid less than the rock bottom ILO minimum wage level and we are working on a precise wage claim before the ship sails into Kwinana on the Western Australian coast. The Greek owners have signed an agreement with the ITF to have seafarer’s repatriated home from Fremantle and to settle all wage accounts prior to berthing.
Dean Summers has said that it is important to raise the awareness of the transport sector of the grain supply chain and to generate support from Australian Industry, growers, government and community. “ A big part of the Grain Blitz is let the public understand that the only way Australian cargoes get to their markets is by shipping and the FOC system offer rat bag ship owners the opportunity to exploit seafarers in a completely unacceptable way. FOC ships have been responsible for slave like conditions and in times of huge demand it’s the crew’s food wages and safety which is traded away for profits.
The Blitz will continue for ten more days and involve activists and inspectors from Victoria, Western Australia South Australia and New Zealand.