ITF Calls For Coronial Inquiry Into Tragic Seafarer Death On Board FOC Carrier Alcoa-Chartered Ship in Breach of International Law

The International Transport Workers’ Federation has formally called for a Coronial Inquest into yet another seafarer death on board a Panamanian registered FOC coal carrier.

A 26-year-old Filipino national died on 19 December 2015 on board the Japanese owned, Panamanian registered Beaufix, while on route from China to Gladstone to load Australian coal.

The young Seafarer was diagnosed with tonsillitis in China but died a number of days after leaving Shanghai on 13 December 2015, says ITF National Co-ordinator Dean Summers. 

“Nine of the surviving crew complained of similar symptoms, but we are told they would need to pay $500 each to see a doctor in the first port of Gladstone,” Mr Summers said.  

“These Seafarers are paid so little they do not have $500 to pay for a medical out of their own money which by law must be provided free by the shipping company.”

The ship has now sailed from Gladstone and is alongside in Mackay where the ITF has forced the issue and Seafarers are receiving medical advice. 

“As the body count increases from FOC shipping, our Federal Government continues to dismantle the Australian industry, replacing it with this de-registered, disgraceful form of shipping,” Mr Summers said.

A separate dispute is raging over a temporary licence the Federal Government granted to ALCOA which opens the door to this type of FOC Shipping

“Companies like ALCOA are now replacing safe, secure, environmentally responsible domestic shipping with the cheapest, nastiest FOC on offer.”

Since that licence was granted, the Senate voted to retain the current coastal shipping laws and the government should act in line with the intent of that legislation by cancelling ALCOA’s temporary licence. 

The body of the Filipino Seafarer has been taken to Rockhampton for an autopsy.