‘Locked in hatches on a starvation diet’: ITF unearths another shocking case of seafarer abuse in Australia

A foreign crew in Australia’s Mackay port has been denied basic rights such as access to food and has been forced to work without pay, the Maritime Union of Australia has claimed.
One crewmember aboard the Korean bulk carrier, the C. Summit bulk carrier (151,143 dwt; built 1995), was found to have malnutrition and a further four have since left the ship claiming they feared for their lives. The ship is owned by Seoul-headquartered Chang Myung Shipping.

The accusations have been substantiated by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), following an inspection of the vessel earlier this week.

ITF Assistant National Coordinator Matt Purcell said the crew, a mix of Cambodians and Burmese, had been subject to the worst kind of bullying he had encountered.
“We have discovered two contracts, one contract was the one the workers signed prior to boarding and the other, which doesn’t meet even the most basic international standards, was signed shortly after the crew joined the ship,” Purcell said.
“The crew claim they have received no wages for several months and are forced to do jobs outside of their requirements.
“They have been locked in hatches and have survived on what I can only describe as a starvation diet.”
Chang Myung is a repeat offender in that deficiencies have been noted by a number of different port state control areas.  The ship was found to be breaching labour standards in Denmark as recently as November last year.

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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