AMSA bans Liberian Bulk Carrier for sailor mistreatment and wage theft
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has imposed a one-year ban from Australian waters on the Liberian-registered bulk carrier "MSXT EMILY" due to reports of mistreatment of sailors on board and wage theft issues.
Following a tip from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), AMSA conducted an inspection aboard the MSXT EMILY while it was berthed at the port of Hay Point in Queensland. During the inspection, AMSA uncovered multiple Maritime Labour Convention 2006 violations. The vessel had been chartered by Japan's Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and was loading coal destined for Japan.
AMSA's investigation revealed that the ship's crew had not received proper compensation following their employment agreements. Moreover, there was evidence of certain employment contracts bearing forged signatures of seafarers, while in other instances, workers had been coerced into signing these agreements.
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A particularly egregious case involved a worker signing a new contract for 50% lower pay, even though their existing contract was valid for another four months. Overall, the inspection uncovered unpaid wages totaling over $77,000 for the seafarers aboard the ship. AMSA also noted that the ship's operator, MSM Ship Management Pte Ltd China, attempted to settle the outstanding wages for their workers once they became aware of the inspection.
Stephen McMeeking, AMSA's manager for ship inspections, described the onboard conditions as shocking, with seafarers lacking access to essential medical care and having to cover the costs of their meals. The crew comprised individuals from China, Myanmar, and Vietnam, with non-Chinese seafarers being required to pay extra for culturally appropriate food.
Mr. McMeeking assured that the seafarers would be duly compensated for their unpaid salaries, and the ship operator would be subject to vigilant monitoring to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.