The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Costanza from Australian ports for three months for underpaying crew wages.
AMSA boarded the Constanza earlier this month for a routine port state control inspection and to investigate a complaint from the International Transport Federation (ITF) about underpayment of seafarer wages.
During the inspection, AMSA inspectors found evidence that crew were owed about AUD$108,000 (~US$72,700) in wages. The majority of the crew seafarer employment agreements also had a salary amount less than the collective agreement for the vessel.
The ship was immediately detained for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).
“Taking financial advantage of seafarers in this way is nothing short of exploitation,” said AMSA Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake. “The majority of industry operators do the right thing by their seafarers, but for the few who do not, consider this a reminder that you will be held accountable.
“We do not tolerate the exploitation of seafarers in our waters,” Drake added.
The AMSA reports that the ship’s operator, Orient Line Corp. Japan, has now taken the required steps to ensure all seafarers onboard are paid in full. The agency has also received confirmation that the seafarers from Costanza have now been paid their outstanding wages and the vessel has been released from detention.
Once the ship departs Newcastle it will not be permitted to approach or enter an Australian port for three months, until February 9, 2023.
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