Australia detained two vessels owned by a Qatari shipping company for breaching serious labour rights, in a matter of weeks after the crew on another of the company’s ships had to do a hunger strike off Kuwait.
According to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), these detentions mean that half of Aswan Trading and Contracting’s fleet of six ships is out of operation, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has claimed.
The company was blacklisted by shipping regulators in 2017 and its chairman is wanted by Qatari law enforcement, the ITF added.
The Panamanian-flagged coal carrier Maryam was first detained on February 19 in Port Kembla, New South Wales, by AMSA after finding 36 safety and crew welfare deficiencies.
ITF inspectors learned that the owner did not pay key contracts to suppliers on several occasions, leaving the ship without fuel for the engine, power and lighting.
In addition, AMSA had found multiple problems with the vessel’s main generators, forcing crew to use the ship’s emergency generator.
Furthermore, the crew revealed that they were being paid by Aswan well below International Labour Organisation (ILO) minimum wages.
Maryam is the second Aswan vessel to be detained by AMSA in the last month.
What is more, the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Movers 3 was stopped in Weipa on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula three weeks ago.
According to Australian authorities, the ship was detained, then released, only to be detained again.
The vessel’s engine had been showcasing serious problems, with the authorities blocking the ship from coming into Weipa’s inner harbour.
According to the ITF, the engine faults mean the vessel is unable to be propelled, which is necesary to produce potable water needed onboard for showers, toilets and washing up.
The ship’s freezers were also broken, forcing the crew to discard meat and other food.
Now, the ITF said that the remaining crew have been on the vessel for between three and six months. Moreover, they are concerned that Aswan may be withholding their promised bonuses.