Australian authorities have issued a record ban to the owners of Panama-flagged bulk carrier Maryam, preventing the vessel from entering any Australian port for three years in response to major safety and maintenance issues, along with crew welfare abuses.
The ban comes a month after a second bulk carrier owned by the same company, Aswan Shipping, was issued an 18-month ban for similar deficiencies after being detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority at Weipa, in far north Queensland.
The Maryam was detained in Port Kembla in February after an inspection identified dozens of serious safety, maintenance, and crew welfare breaches. In recent weeks it sailed to Brisbane.
The 23 seafarers onboard were owed tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding wages, while a lack of fuel had left the vessel without lighting, air conditioning, or power for refrigerators. Urgent supplies of fuel, food and drinking water were delivered to the desperate crew.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said the Maryam was now sailing to Vietnam to undertake urgent repairs following the replacement of the remaining crew members.
“The situation with these two vessels from Aswan Shipping isn’t a one-off, it’s a systemic feature of the deregulated global shipping industry which is seeing a race to the bottom when it comes to safety, maintenance, and the treatment of seafarers,” commented ITF Australia coordinator Ian Bray.