Friday 16th Nov, 2018

Bulker banned over safety, wages issues

BAHAMAS-flagged bulker, MV Rena (9464780), has been banned from Australian ports for six months, after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported it had “repeatedly failed to pay outstanding wages and maintain a safe workplace”.

On June 30 AMSA received a complaint from the International Transport Workers Federation alleging the crew had not been paid their total wages for several months.

AMSA did a port state control inspection at Hay Point, central Queensland on July 6, issuing the ship with several “serious deficiencies” including:

  • Failure of the emergency generator to start;
  • Failure of the life boat starting arrangements;
  • Shortcomings in the safety management system (ISM); and
  • Failure to pay crew the cash component of their wages which totalled about $US53,000.

According to AMSA, the emergency generator, lifeboat and safety management system deficiencies were “a clear risk to the health and safety of the crew, the ship and Australia’s marine environment”.

Failure to pay wages is a breach of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

These deficiencies were deemed sufficient to warrant detention of the ship at Hay Point.

The ship had also been detained at Port Adelaide in February for several serious deficiencies, including the crew working excess hours.

The MV Rena was detained at Hay Point for 29 days until AMSA and the flag state (Bahamas) confirmed the crew had been paid their outstanding wages August 3.

AMSA general manager of operations, Allan Schwartz, said the behaviour of the ship’s owners gave AMSA considerable cause for concern.

He expressed appreciation to the Bahamas Maritime Authority for taking an active role.

“The failure of the ship operator to ensure that the ship is effectively managed along with the repeated failures of the ISM Code and Maritime Labour Convention, is a clear indication the ship is not being operated to meet applicable minimum standards,” Mr Schwartz said.

“The length of time taken to rectify the outstanding issues, particularly in relation to crew welfare, is completely unacceptable.”

The ban on the MV Rena expires on February 3, 2017

If the ship reappears in Australian waters, it may be subject to a further ban of 12 months.

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