Australia bans bulk carrier TW Hamburg for “wage exploitation”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned bulk carrier TW Hamburg (IMO 9603520) from Australian ports for 12 months. The Authority boarded the ship in Gladstone, Queensland, on Friday July 24th after receiving correspondence that seafarers onboard had expired employment agreements and had requested repatriation.

Further information and assistance was provided by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, AMSA said.

During the AMSA inspection its representatives were approached by seafarers who claimed they had been underpaid. Evidence collected substantiated these allegations, confirming that the crew were owed about A$42,000.

The crew members were also found to have duplicate seafarer employment agreements with a difference in wages between the two agreements of about 25%. They were being paid based on the agreement for the lower amount.

During the inspection, AMSA also discovered that the quantity and quality of food provided was well below the standards required by the Maritime Labour Convention.

The galley and fridges were filthy and the ship had very poor hygiene practices overall, said AMSA.

The crew were now being repatriated.

AMSA Acting General Manager Operations Michael Drake said this constituted a serious breach of the Maritime Labour Convention. “Taking financial advantage and mistreating seafarers in this way is nothing short of exploitation by people in powerful positions,” Mr Drake said. “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.

Drake said that AMSA had banned 16 ships from Australian ports since 2014, the majority for failing to pay seafarers their wages on time and in full. Earlier this week it banned the Agia Sofia (IMO 9706786). Fortune Genius and Xing Jing Hai were both banned in September 2019.

AMSA said that it had received confirmation that the seafarers from TW Hamburg had now been paid their outstanding wages and had come ashore to be repatriated. The ship has departed Gladstone. It will be barred from approaching or entering an Australian port until July 29th 2021.

2012-built, Liberia-flagged, 51,265 gt TW Hamburg is owned by TW Hamburg Shipping Pte Ltd care of manager Shanghai Run Yuan Shipping of Shanghai, China. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Hong Kong Division) on behalf of Shanghai Run Yuan Shipping.

2016-built, Liberia-flagged, 44,192 gt Agia Sofia is owned by Fiona Maritime Inc care of manager Marmaras Navigation Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Fiona Maritime Inc.