By MarEx 2015-09-10 17:52:30
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has detained the Panama flagged bulk carrier MV Apellis after an inspection revealed a number of deficiencies relating to the working conditions of the crew.
The MV Apellis is operated by Pyrsos Shipping Co Ltd and chartered by Hudson Shipping Lines.
AMSA inspected the vessel at Esperance grain jetty after receiving a complaint from the International Transport Workers Federation raising concerns about the welfare of the crew. Once on board, the AMSA surveyor discovered a number of deficiencies including:
• Seafarers not being repatriated as required by their employment agreements;
• Seafarers not being provided a monthly account of wages for the month of August;
• One crew member found to be working beyond medical restrictions;
• No working washing machine in crew laundry;
• Inadequate quality or nutritional value of food; and
• Seafarers not paid monthly as required by their employment agreements.
The vessel has been detained on the matter of non-payment of wages. The MV Apellis will remain under detention by AMSA until this deficiency is rectified.
The vessel is crewed by a mix of Indonesians and Ukrainians.
AMSA’s General Manager of Ship Safety, Allan Schwartz, said that the proper treatment of seafarers is just as important as the proper maintenance of ships’ equipment – a failure in either system can lead to serious accidents.
“All ships in Australian waters need to comply with Australian standards,” Schwartz said. “Seafarers live difficult lives often spending many months at sea away from their families and friends. Any vessel which is found to be in breach of the MLC or other Australian standards will be detained by AMSA and repeat offenders risk being banned from Australian waters.”
“The AMSA detention of this vessel for breaches of the MLC is a clear statement to both the flag state and the owner to address the abuses occurring on board,” says David Hammond, CEO and Founder of Human Rights at Sea.
“Breaches of both labour rights and human rights appear to be common. Some of the reported issues include cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of the crew. The question is, what will the flag state will do in this case?”
The maritime union, ITF’s Assistant National Coordinator Matt Purcell said a volunteer ITF inspector boarded the ship to meet with the crew after receiving a complaint.
“The person we sent up the gangway was distressed by what he saw and said the crew were fearful of repercussions,” Purcell said.
“Food and water is being rationed, which as well as being an outright contravention of MLC, it’s also inhumane.
“We have one crewmember, the steward on $200-a-month, another the, chief engineer, claims he hasn’t received a single cent in eight months. The majority of the crew just want to go home to their families after their ordeal.
“There is also a concern that there is not enough stores to sustain the crew on their scheduled voyage to Indonesia.”
ITF President Paddy Crumlin said he was worried there would be an increase in these incidents of exploitation as Australia’s Abbott Government moved towards further relaxing shipping regulation through amendments to the Coastal Trading Act.