A coal ship, not the Fortune Genius, in Gladstone harbour. Phot: File.
A coal ship, not the Fortune Genius, in Gladstone harbour. Phot: File.

UNPRECEDENTED: Ships banned from our ports

THE Australian Maritime Safety Authority has banned a coal ship detained in Gladstone from entering or approaching any Australian ports after breaching seafarers’ rights.

The Panama-registered Fortune Genius was one of two bulk carriers banned by AMSA yesterday in what was described as “an unprecedented move”.

Fortune Genius was banned for 12 months while the Xing Jing Hai in Brisbane has been banned for 18 months for failing to pay crew their wages in full and on time.

AMSA general manager of operations Allan Schwartz said failure to pay crew their wages in full and on time was a “reprehensible” breach of the Maritime Labour Convention and not tolerated by AMSA.

“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,” Mr Schwartz said.

“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.”

Last Thursday AMSA surveyors boarded the Fortune Genius in Gladstone after receiving a complaint via the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

AMSA’s investigation revealed the crew of the Fortune Genius had been deliberately under paid by the operator, New Fortune Genius Management, by about AUD $100,000 for the months of April to August.

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 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, has previously been warned over unpaid wages with a sister ship, the Xing Ning Hai.

AMSA’s investigation revealed 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.

In 2018 AMSA banned three ships; MSC Kia Ora, Thorco Luna and Shandong Hai Wang from Australian ports for breaching international maritime regulations.