Australian authorities recover cash for underpaid Filipino seafarers

Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered A$100,649 ($77,309) for ten seafarers from the Philippines who were underpaid while working in Australian waters in the first half of last year.

During the voyages, the lowest ranked crew members received as little as A$5 per hour.

The highest amount recovered for an individual worker was A$16,677.

Under Australia’s Seagoing Industry Award 2010 the lowest ranked workers were entitled to receive at least A$17.29 per hour and A$21.61 for overtime hours.

The operator of the vessel, an unidentified international company with headquarters outside of Australia, claimed that it was unaware its obligations under Australian workplace laws because it had never operated voyages within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone before.

A formal letter of caution was also issued, placing the employer on notice that future breaches of Australian workplace laws may trigger enforcement action, including litigation.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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