NYK Stolt tanker hit by unpaid wage claims

Sydney: The continued special focus on underpaid seafarers calling at Australia by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has snared another shipowner. The ITF reports that the Chinese seafarers onboard the Stolt Kikyo parcel tanker (built 1998; 11,545 dwt), which berthed in Tasmania’s Davenport this morning, are owed wages for two months and have not received coastal trading payments required under Australian law. The 24 crew are owed around A$250,000 in missing wages, the ITF said.

The ITF has been running a campaign to keep Australian seafarers working in Australian waters, something that Canberra is keen to change.

The ship is now moored a short distance from the Australian-manned Alexander Spirit, which has remained in Devonport for more than a week after the crew were sacked, to be replaced with with what the ITF claims are cheap foreign workers on $2 per hour.

The Liberian flagged Stolt Kikyo is owned by a joint venture between Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Stolt-Nielsen. For NYK, the Stolt Kikyo is the latest embarrassing setback in Australia. The Japanese line has received plenty of column inches in local media over the mysterious deaths of three people onboard the coal carrier – dubbed the death ship locally – of one its subsidiaries at an inquest in Sydney in recent months.

“Global shipping is big business, delivering massive profits to the corporations that dominate it, yet increasingly these profits are being generated through the exploitation of seafarers from developing nations. This tanker is trading in Australian waters, servicing Australian ports, while utilising the cheapest international crews, all on an Australian government license. Those facts make it even more abhorrent that these seafarers are being treated in such a Dickensian way. The federal Government must act immediately to rectify these breaches to international conventions and basic human rights,” an ITF spokesperson said today.


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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