TWO bulk ships have been banned from Australian ports after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority found their crews had been underpaid. 

The Panama-flagged Fortune Genius (IMO 9221877) in Gladstone and the Hong Kong-registered Xing Jing Hai (9728344) in Brisbane have been banned for 12-months and 18-months respectively for what AMSA said was “a gross breach of the Maritime Labour Convention”.

On Thursday 5 September AMSA surveyors boarded the Fortune Genius in Gladstone following a complaint from the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

The AMSA investigation found the crew of the Fortune Genius had been deliberately under paid AU$100,000 by the operator, New Fortune Genius Management, for April to August.

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According to AMSA, the ship had been operating with two sets of wage accounts, one showing the amount of wages the crew should have been paid and the other showing what they had actually been paid. The ship was immediately detained.

On Wednesday 11 September AMSA surveyors boarded the Xing Jing Hai in Brisbane following similar complaints from the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

The complaints related to unpaid crew wages and the operator, Dalian Ocean Prosperity International Ship Management, previously had been warned over unpaid wages with a sister ship, the Xing Ning Hai.

AMSA’s investigation found  the crew of the Xing Jing Hai had been paid late for the months of May and June, while wages for July and August amounting to about AUD $140,000 were still outstanding.

AMSA general manager of operations Allan Schwartz issued both ships with bans, preventing them from entering or approaching any Australian port – 12 months for the Fortune Genius and 18 months for the Xing Jing Hai.

“Failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time is a reprehensible breach of the Maritime Labour Convention and one that AMSA will not tolerate,” Mr Schwartz said.

“The operator of the Fortune Genius has acted in a dishonest and predatory fashion towards its seafarers while the operator of the Xing Jing Hai has demonstrated a systemic failure to ensure its seafarers are paid properly.

“Our powers to ban ships for breaches of international maritime regulations are clear and these two operators will not make a profit in our waters on the back of modern day slave labour.

“Not on our watch.”

AMSA earlier issued another statement concerning the MV Xing Ning Hai at Port Kembla, saying the crew had been paid on time, but the ship had been issued with several unrelated deficiencies regarding record keeping and cleanliness. Last year AMSA banned three ships; MSC Kia Ora, Thorco Luna and Shandong Hai Wang from Australian ports for breaching IMO regulations.

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