A bulk carrier charged with “appalling treatment of seafarers” has been banned from Australian ports for a year. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that Liberian-flagged bulk carrier MSXT Emily (IMO 9929302) had experienced serious issues of wage theft and seafarer mistreatment.
A tip-off from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) led AMSA to inspect the ship at the Port of Hay Point, in Queensland, and found evidence of several violations of the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).
The vessel had been chartered by K-Line to load a cargo of coal for discharge in Japan.
Seafarers onboard the vessel were alleged by ITF not to have been paid in accordance with their Seafarer Employment Agreements. Four such agreements were alleged to include apparently-forged signatures from employees, while five seafarers appeared to have been coerced into signing new employment agreements, which had lower salaries.
AMSA inspectors found evidence that more than $77,000 in wages had been owed to seafarers working onboard the MSXT Emily. AMSA said that the ship’s operators (MSM Ship Management) attempted to pay the amount owed once they were aware that AMSA inspectors were onboard.
AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said it had been a serious case of seafarer mistreatment. “Wage theft, forgery and coercion are serious matters, and I have been deeply troubled to hear of the conditions on the MSXT Emily,” he said. “The workforce conditions onboard this vessel are a disgrace, and AMSA will not tolerate this in Australian waters.
Drake acknowledged the role of the ITF in bringing the matter to AMSA’s attention.
Drake said that “we are imposing this lengthy ban as a clear deterrent and recognize that these essential workers deserve the dignity and respect of fair pay and good workplace conditions”.
2022-built, Liberia-flagged, 49,228 gt MSXT Emily is owned by Fortune Equality Carriers Ltd care of manager China Minsheng Trust Co Ltd of Beijing, China. ISM manager is MSM Ship Management Pte of Shandong, China. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Hong Kong) on behalf of Fortune Equality Carriers. As of August 24th the vessel was underway off eastern Australia from Hay Point, Australia, to Kitakyushu, Japan.