02 Sep Stranded ship heading to sea
A bulk coal carrier detained for more than two months off Gladstone due to a dispute over wages, conditions and fuel is finally heading to sea but is banned from returning to Australia for 12 months.
Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said Australian maritime authorities had resolved the dispute with the ship’s owners and the stranded crew would be paid and were resuming their voyage.
“Too often it is ship’s crews who suffer the brunt of financial and physical hardship when international financing arrangements which they have no control over go sour,” Mr Bailey said.
“I congratulate the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on the timely and thorough way this dispute was managed and heartily agree with the direction to ban the ship’s operators from bringing the vessel to any Australian port for the next 12 months.
“Ensuring the welfare of local and visiting sailors is a priority for Queensland ports and state agencies worked closely with Commonwealth and welfare agencies to assist the crew of the coal ship while it was detained.”
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Gladstone Ports Corporation should be commended for their prompt response providing support and assistance to ensure the welfare of the crew.
“The port organised for the pilot transfer helicopter to provide interim food supplies to the vessel while AMSA secured a charter vessel to transport more significant amounts of additional food to the vessel’s crew,” Mr Butcher said.
“Maritime Safety Queensland also closely monitored the ship through its Gladstone Vessel Traffic Service and through its close working relationship with Australian Maritime Safety Authority.”
Mr Bailey said the Hong Kong flagged ship was detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) due to breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention relating to lack of food supplies and unpaid crew wages.
The vessel was loaded at the Port of Hay Point, south of Mackay in Queensland.
“Gladstone Port Corporation will continue to work together with AMSA, Maritime Safety Queensland, the Gladstone Mission to Seafarers and other relevant authorities and organisations to provide support and assistance wherever it can to ensure the welfare of the crew,” Mr Bailey said.
He also recognised International Transport Federation for providing valuable input and support protecting the interests of the seafarers.