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Food delivered to abandoned capesize crew just in time

Food has been delivered in the nick of time to an abandoned crew onboard the capesize Five Stars Fujian (181,400 dwt, built 2009), who were on the verge of running out of supplies while at anchor at Australia’s Port of Gladstone.

On Monday, the Gladstone branch of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) dispatched a helicopter (pictured) to deliver three days’ worth of food to the 20 Chinese seafarers onboard the capesize.

Splash reported previously the MTS in Australia had organised and paid for supplies to be delivered to the ship, but could not find a transport provider to carry the goods to the vessel by sea.

“Whilst the national body of the MTS provided an initial A$5,000 for food, this has not all be used as the helicopter could only carry 200kg. The remaining funds are instantly available for the seafarers,” Garry Dodd from MTS Gladstone told Splash by email.

“Sadly the ITF [International Transport Workers’ Federation] have not paid or organised food or transport. One only hopes they will be able to assist in the future if required,” he said.

Dodd added that MTS has received assistance from Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Gladstone Port Welfare Committee (PWC).

AMSA detained Five Stars Fujian  on July 19 after inspectors found there was not enough food for the next leg of its journey. The vessel is laden with an estimated $40m worth of coal from the Port of Hay Point, 40 km south of Mackay, and was bound for Hong Kong.

The ship was freed last Wednesday, but by Sunday its crew were reportedly on the verge of running out of food 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 vessels’ owners, Hong Kong-based Five Stars Fujian Shipping, appear to have vanished.

“The next steps revolve around the negotiations between the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the range of stake holders involved with the vessel,” Dodd told Splash.



Photo courtesy of MTS Gladstone/Facebook.



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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