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Australia Bans Tanker for Underpaying Crew, Insufficient Food and Water

Mike Schuler
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July 25, 2022

A Liberian-flagged tanker has been banned from Australian ports for six months for underpaying crew wages and insufficient food and water.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced the ban Monday against the AG Neptune, a 105,405 dwt crude oil tanker, after the ship was inspected at the Port of Gladstone in June in response to a complaint regarding the underpayment of seafarers and welfare issues.

During the inspection, AMSA inspectors found evidence that 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 (US $85,000).

Inspectors also uncovered evidence the food and drinking water were not of appropriate quality, quantity and nutritional value. It’s also understood a seafarer was not provided with adequate medical care after being injured onboard.

AMSA detained the ship for multiple breaches of the Maritime Labour 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 behaviour 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,” added Drake.

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