Two Qatari-Owned Vessels Detained by Australia over Labor Violations

Maritime authorities from Australia recently detained two vessels owned by a Qatari shipping company on grounds of labor and safety violations. Australian authorities closely coordinated with the International Transport Workers’ Federation when it comes to providing relief for the trapped crew onboard the two vessels. Meanwhile, the owners addressed the deficiency in the vessel.

17-year-old bulk carrier Maryam having 97,045 dwt was detained back in February this year after arriving from China. Our AIS data shows that it is still at Port Kembla, Australia.

On close inspection, AMSA or the Australian Maritime Safety Authority identified 36 safety and crew welfare deficiencies.

After speaking to the ship’s captain and crew, ITF inspectors established that the ship’s owner, Aswan Trading and Contracting, declined to pay suppliers without fuel, power, and lighting.

All the crewmembers living onboard, measuring 23 in numbers, lived onboard without lighting, air conditioning, or power for refrigeration and faced a dearth of drinkable water at times.

Multiple problems were identified by AMSA on the ship's main generators, thereby forcing the crew to resort to the ship’s emergency generator. On the other hand, the emergency generator was itself running out of fuel.

The situation ran out of hand when inspectors found out that the Maryam was due to run out of all its fuel once more – that night – at 9 pm. The seafarers were in dire need of urgent help.

As a result, AMSA and the Port Authority of New South Wales’ were quickly contacted by ITF to relay the precarious situation faced by the crew onboard. ITF's pushing ensured that an empty fuel tank arrived at the scene at 2 pm. A full tank being delivered at 7.30 pm by the port authority resulted after ITF made a few more phone calls.

Numerous seafarers were being paid by Aswan well-below International Labour Organization (ILO) minimum wages. Besides, all of the 23 crewmembers were yet to receive the bonuses due to them.

This is the second Aswan vessel to be detained by Australian authorities on grounds of mistreatment of crew members. Three weeks ago, the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier MV Movers 3 (IMO: 9250244) got detained in Queensland on the grounds of having serious engine problems.

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