PANAMANIAN bulker AC Sesoda (IMO 9470791) has been banned from Australian waters for 12-months after it was revealed to have underpaid its crew by more than A$118,000.

AMSA boarded the ship at Mourilyan, near Innisfail in Far North Queensland, on 10 September to investigate underpayment allegations.

It was revealed several of the crew only had been paid half of their wages since October 2019.

According to AMSA, the ship’s master and Taiwanese operator, Sincere Industrial Corporation, attempted to conceal the underpayment by producing a fabricated wage record.

A second wage record showed these seafarers had been, according to AMSA, deliberately underpaid, while some senior members of the crew had been paid above their agreed rates.

The ship was detained by AMSA and the operator was directed to pay the outstanding wages.

AMSA has received evidence the crew has been fully paid the outstanding wages and a rectification action plan developed by the operator to avoid any reoccurrence.

AMSA general manager operations Allan Schwartz said the ship was released from detention and issued with a 12-month ban, prohibiting it from entering an Australian port.

“This is the fourth ship that we have banned this year for serious and shameful breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention,” Mr Schwartz said.

“It’s hard to believe that some operators still think that it is acceptable to underpay their seafarers.”

Mr Schwartz said such behaviour was unethical, disrespectful and in contravention of the Maritime Labour Convention.

“I have no doubt that the financial and reputational impact that being banned from Australia has on the operator, far exceeds the cost of paying seafarers the money that they have rightfully earnt,” he said.