Ship banned in Australia for AUD $118,000 in unpaid crew wages
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has today banned the Panama-flagged bulk carrier AC Sesoda for deliberately underpaying its crew by more than AUD $118,000, which the ship’s operator attempted to conceal from authorities, AMSA said in its release.
AMSA boarded the ship at Mourilyan in Queensland on Thursday, 10th September 2020 to investigate allegations about underpayment. During AMSA’s investigation, evidence was collected which confirmed that a number of crew had only been paid half of their wages since October 2019.
The ship’s master and Taiwanese operator, Sincere Industrial Corporation, attempted to conceal the underpayment from AMSA inspectors by only producing a fabricated wage record which indicated that these seafarers had been paid in full. A second wage record showed that these seafarers had in fact been 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. Since then, AMSA has received evidence that crew had been paid the outstanding wages and a rectification action plan developed by the operator to ensure the same failure did not reoccur.
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.