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Five Stars Fujian released

A Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier which was arrested and then detained by Australian authorities for more than a month is now free to leave, but has been banned from Australian ports for 12 months.

The Five Stars Fujian has been sitting idle in waters near Gladstone, its crew complaining of dwindling supplies onboard and the owner having not paid them for months.

The Federal Court first arrested the ship in late July for commercial matters. Then the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained the ship on August 12 for not paying its crew wages for 12 months, and having inadequate food for its voyage.

It was finally released today.

“The crew of the Five Stars Fujian have been forsaken off the Australian coast for over two months, with limited supplies and thousands of dollars of unpaid wages,” AMSA general manager of ship safety Allan Schwartz said.

“The amount of time it has taken has been extraordinary. This kind of conduct will not be tolerated in Australia.”

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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