Filipino crew on board the Singapore flag of convenience bulk carrier Grand Victoria loading coal in the port of Newcastle have won US$170,000 in back pay owing after intervention from the ITF Australia.
The cash payment of US $100,000 was personally made to 19 crew members, with confirmation that a further $70,000 owing in family allotments has been paid into their home bank accounts. The company also signed an ITF agreement giving the crew a pay rise and better working conditions on board.
Ship owners Newfront Shipping flew company representatives from Athens to Newcastle this week to ensure there was no dispute after Filipino crew on board another of their vessels, sister ship the Grand Esmeralda went on strike off Geraldton last month, disrupting Australian ore exports. (See "Ore shipment stranded as Filipino crew refuse to sail ship of shame" )
"The crew of the Victoria stood up for their rights," said acting ITF Australia co-ordinator Matt Purcell. "They had not been paid for five months. Absolutely nothing! It created a lot of hardship for their families back in the Philippines."
Mr Purcell said it makes all the work the ITF does worthwhile when crew take a stand and the owners listen.
"They tell me they are very happy with the outcome," he said. "They are prepared to sail the ship to China, but after all that's happened they are not sure if they will remain with the ship in the long term."
The Victoria is currently being loaded with 70,000 tonne of coal at the Carrington berth, Port Waratah Coal Terminal and is on schedule to sail for China tomorrow night at 10pm.