Australia bans oil tanker for underpaying wages, insufficient food and water onboard

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) July 23 banned the Liberian-flagged oil tanker AG Neptune from Australian ports for six months. AMSA inspected the ship in the Port of Gladstone, in central Queensland, on 17 June 2022 after receiving a complaint regarding the underpayment of seafarers and welfare issues.

During the inspection, AMSA found evidence the employment agreement with 21 seafarers on board the ship had not been met and the crew members were collectively owed approximately AUD $123,000.

AMSA found evidence the food and drinking water were not of appropriate quality, quantity and nutritional value for seafarers. It is also understood a seafarer was not provided with adequate medical care after being injured onboard.

As a result, AMSA detained the ship for multiple breaches of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) and the operator has been directed to pay the outstanding wages and address the deficiencies.

AMSA’s Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said the seafarers were repeatedly not paid at regular intervals and two crew members had expired Seafarer Employment Agreements.

“Australia has zero tolerance for the underpayment of crew. This type of behavior is unethical and in contravention to the MLC. The international conventions that protect seafarers’ rights are very clear,” Drake said.

“Ships visiting Australian ports are on notice that if we find deliberate underpaying of crew they can expect penalties.

“AMSA takes the MLC seriously and actively ensures seafarers’ health and well-being is upheld on all ships in Australia.”

Photo credit: iStock/ airdone

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