Seafarers Aboard FOC Ship Deprived of Food

There are concerns about the welfare of 21 Filipino seafarers aboard a flag-of-convenience bulk carrier berthed at Port Kembla after it was found the stores aboard the ship were severely lacking and none of the crew had been paid in four months.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has detained the ship, the Bulk Brasil, for serious breaches of the Maritime Labor Convention.

The Bulk Brasil is an 82,000 dead weight ton, Panamanian-registered vessel, managed and operated by Japanese-based multinational Keymax.

It is a repeat offender and has been found to have deficiencies in 12 ports worldwide. An AMSA inspection in Hay Point, Queensland last year found that the vessel had deficiencies in pollution prevention, working and living conditions, safety of navigation and fire safety.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) National Co-ordinator Dean Summers is concerned there is a spike in substandard ships visiting Australian ports after another vessel was detained in Newcastle just yesterday.

“Ironically, the Keymax website claims that the company ‘promises to deliver the finest in crewing services’; am I wrong in thinking that the ‘finest in crewing services’ to mean that the crew will be fed and paid,” Summers asked.

“There are four maritime conventions determining conduct of the international shipping fleet and this ship has managed to have breached on a number of occasions three of these conventions: Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) and the Prevention of Pollution From Ships (MARPOL).

“Australian exporters have to be held responsible for the ships they charter, they must not be permitted to vicariously exploit and abuse seafarers.”