Dry CargoGreater ChinaOperations

Efforts fail to get supplies to abandoned crew onboard laden capesize

Efforts are ongoing to try to transfer supplies to crew onboard a laden capesize at anchor at Australia’s Port of Gladstone, who have not been paid in months and are about to run out of food.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained Five Stars Fujian (181,400 dwt, built 2009) on July 19 after inspectors found there was not enough food for the next leg of its journey. The ship was freed last Wednesday, but food is reportedly on the verge of running out completely.

Reports say the 20 Chinese seafarers onboard have not received their wages in over two months. Under the Maritime Labour Convention, of which Australia is a signatory, the vessel cannot move from its anchorage until the crew’s wages are paid.

The vessel is laden with an estimated $40m worth of coal, which was loaded at the Port of Hay Point, 40 km south of Mackay, and was bound for Hong Kong. Sarah McGuire, the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s (ITF) Queensland inspector, told local press the ship’s Hong Kong-based owners, Five Stars Fujian Shipping, have either “vanished” or are “watching from the background”.

Now, the local branch of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) and the ITF have committed money to buy supplies for the crew, but transfer of the goods to the ship has so far been unsuccessful.

The MTS told Splash its Australian branch has already paid around A$5,000 for supplies, but has been unable to find a transport provider to carry the goods to the vessel. The ITF has said it is not willing to assist in the transfer efforts, the MTS said.

Splash has contacted local MTS representatives for comment.



Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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