THE International Transport Workers Federation Australia said it was taking steps to address conditions aboard the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier MV Seastar Endurance, now at Port Kembla.

ITF Australian co-ordinator Matt Purcell said the crew was living in difficult conditions and were forced to sleep on the deck because the ship’s air-conditioning system had broken down. He also said the vessel was infested with cockroaches.

“This is no way to treat seafarers and we have contacted the owners, Norbulk Shipping UK and told them the ship’s air-conditioning must be repaired and the cockroach infestation treated by pest controllers before it leaves Port Kembla,” Mr Purcell said.

The ITF said the vessel is carrying a crew of 18, comprising 12 Filipinos and six Russians. The vessel arrived in Port Kembla from Indonesia via Singapore on October 24.

“We understand the temperature in the engine room was in excess of 40 degrees during the voyage from Indonesia and even hotter in the cabins which meant the crew were forced to sleep on deck to cope with the searing heat,” Mr Purcell said.

“We are seeking assurances from the owners that this vessel will be repaired and made safe for the crew before it leaves Port Kembla.”

Mr Purcell said the cockroach infestation should be properly treated. He called on authorities and the owners to remove the crew while the fumigation takes place.

“No seafarers should be forced to endure conditions like this, and the ITF in Australia will take action to alert authorities and place pressure on owners to rectify poor living conditions aboard any ship coming into Australian waters.”

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesperson confirmed to DCN a port state control inspection was conducted on Seastar Endurance in Port Kembla on 28 October.

“Seafarer welfare and compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention are always key focus areas for AMSA during port state control inspections,” the spokesperson said.