Following COVID-19 pandemic and the crew change crisis that has presented, AMSA has identified several deficiencies and detentions, related to seafarers’ repatriation during the outbreak.
In fact, the above statistics are valid for the period 26 June – 26 November 2020. During that period AMSA detained eleven vessels due to Maritime Labour Convention related deficiencies.
SKS Doyles – The Norwegian flagged oil tanker was detained because 11 seafarers were found to have expired employment agreements. Five seafarers were found to have extended employment agreements with no evidence of flag State agreement of these extensions. The ship was also detained for the failure to maintain the vessel in accordance with mandatory regulations (MLC).
Grand Venture – The Panama flagged bulk carrier was detained for failing to provide decent working and living conditions required under Article IV of the MLC. Part of this failure was that there was no plan in place for the repatriation of seafarers.
Agia Sofia – The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained due to systemic underpayment of seafarers, with $45,000 AUD owed to the seafarers onboard. Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for six months (banned). Read the media release for the banning of this ship.
TW Hamburg – The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained due to the ship failing to provide decent working and living conditions required under Article IV of the MLC. This included systemic underpayment of seafarers, failure to provide sufficient quantity and quality of food and attempts to coerce seafarers to withdraw their complaints. Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for 12 months (banned). Read the media release for the banning of this ship.
Interlink Fortuity – The Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier was detained for minor underpayment of wages for several seafarers. Complaints relating to this ship had been received by AMSA, which prompted AMSA to inspect this ship.
Unison Jasper – The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier was detained in Newcastle on 30 July 2020 for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention. AMSA is continuing investigations into the seriousness and repeated nature of these breaches.
On Friday 31 July 2020, 11 crew members were landed ashore and transferred to Sydney for quarantine while they await repatriation to their home country.
The ship has shifted to a layup berth as replacement crew are organised by the ship’s operator. The ship will not be permitted to leave Newcastle until the minimum safe manning standards can be met to the satisfaction of AMSA and the ship’s flag State. Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for six months (banned).
Ben Rinnes –The Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier was detained in Geelong on 7 August 2020. Two seafarers had served onboard for more than 14 months, with no flag approved/mutually agreed plan for repatriation and leave. Three seafarers were disembarked in total from the ship and are currently waiting repatriation.
AC Sesoda – The Panama flagged bulk carrier was detained in Mourilyan on 10 September 2020. Objective evidence was found that indicated more than one set of wage accounts in use. Multiple seafarers were found to be systemically underpaid. The AC Sesoda has been banned from Australia for 12 months as of 17 Sep 2020.
Star Eva – The Maltese bulk carrier was detained in Abbot Point on 25 September 2020. Objective evidence was found that seafarers were not being paid as per their respective Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEAs) and some seafarers were working hours in excess of their SEAs. Outstanding wages were paid and a rectification action plan provided to ensure seafarers do not work hours beyond their contracts.
Yangze 8 – The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained in Port Kembla on 13 October 2020 for breaches to the Maritime labour Convention. The ship remains under investigation.
Amid the pandemic, AMSA has also received many Maritime Labour Convention complaints towards seafarers serving at sea with expired Seafarer Employment Agreements(SEAs), no plans for the repatriation of seafarers after their employment agreements expire, and the amount of time spent onboard by a seafarer being in excess of 11 months.
In total, AMSA has received 158 complaints, with 148 of these investigated and resolved to AMSA’s satisfaction and 10 under investigation, awaiting the ships arrival in Australia.
We are investigating every MLC complaint received. For some complaints, the ship has not arrived in Australia or is not coming to Australia. For ships that are not coming to Australia, we refer the complaint to the ship’s flag State Administration, and where possible, the port State Administration for its next destination. For ships that have not arrived in Australia, we schedule an inspection for when it arrives.
….as AMSA marked.
Concluding, accoding to a recent statement from the Australian Authority, the interim COVID-19 arrangements which have allowed crew to serve more than 11 months onboard vessels, is expected to end on 28 February 2021.