Posted on September 06, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Chinese-owned, Panama-flagged Bulk Carrier, Fortune Genius has been detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in the port of Gladstone, after its crew members reported that they have been underpaid over the last six months.
The incident occurred on the 5th of September, when the bulker first docked in Gladstone.
An inspector from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) boarded the vessel and discovered that eight crew members from Myanmar, have been severely underpaid over the last 6 months, in excess of $64,000.
The Myanmarese seafarers reported several incidents of bullying and being forced to work excessive hours. Fearing for their safety should they remain on the vessel, they requested assistance in order to be repatriated to Myanmar.
Upon closer inspection, the ITF inspector also located fraudulent documents, including two sets of books, which showcased how the company tried to conceal the wage theft, and the breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention.
Following the ITF inspection, the AMSA officers proceeded to detain the vessel, and will be conducting a full audit of the ship.
“We carried out an inspection of the Fortune Genius as soon as it docked in Gladstone because the owner has previously been found in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention, which every shipping company in Australian waters needs to adhere to.
“We will be working with AMSA and the shipowner to ensure they are paid their outstanding wages and repatriated to Myanmar before the vessel is allowed to leave Gladstone,” said Matt Purcell, ITF assistant coordinator in a statement to the press.
The bulk carrier is owned by the Chinese-based Marine Fortune Union Company and managed by its subsidiary, New Fortune Genius Management Limited, and has been chartered by the Korean-based Five Ocean Corporation to transport coal from Gladstone, Australia, to Taean, South Korea.