The International Transport Workers’ Federation is today calling for tighter controls over the issuing of trading permits for foreign ships working on the Australian coast.
The call comes after ITF inspectors in Melbourne discovered crew abuse on board the Flag of Convenience vessel, the Ocean Diamond.
The MV Ocean Diamond, registered in the Marshall Islands, is well known to the ITF as a ship of shame and is understood to be the subject of an ongoing Fair Work Ombudsman's investigation.
ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers said that ITF inspectors in Melbourne have been told that most of the Filipino crew working exclusively in the domestic trade haven't been paid for three months.
The ITF has been told that at least one seafarer had been kept on board for 18 months with no break.
It is also believed that the ship‘s Greek owners will attempt to fly eight of the workers home to Manila tomorrow but the ITF are demanding all wages be paid before the crew leave Australia.
"The ITF believes that serious questions need to be answered over whether the crew is getting paid,” Mr Summers said.
"The Greek owners are reaping an enormous windfall by exploiting the lack of Australian domestic shipping and saving even more by not paying their crew.
“This is the ultimate in worker flexibility worshipped by the likes of Qantas and Tony Abbott, however it has no place in the Australian transport industries.”
The ITF understands that the ship has used more than 10 single voyagepermits and will continue to sail to Port Kembla, Newcastle and Brisbane after leaving Melbourne later in the week.