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Second Australian detention in a week exposes Chinese owners’ failure to pay crew

Australian authorities have detained a second vessel at a Queensland port after crewmembers reported being owed more than $100,000 in unpaid wages.

The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier Xing Jing Hai, owned by Chinese company Ocean Prosperity and managed by Dalian Shipping, was delivering clinker — a material used in the manufacture of cement — to the Port of Brisbane.

The vessel is the second to be detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority during the past week after the Panama-flagged Fortune Genius was held at the Port of Gladstone last week following an inspection by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that found fraudulent documentation, including two sets of books, used to conceal wage theft.

The ITF has also written to AMSA seeking an audit of a third vessel in Port Kembla, the Xing Ning Hai, which is owned by the same company as the Xing Jing Hai.

That crew have also reported that they have not been paid since June and are owed more than $100,000 in wages. The vessel has previously been detained in another country for non-payment of wages.

In total, ITF inspectors have identified more than $250,000 dollars in unpaid wages during audits of vessels at Australian ports during the past week, along with further breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention.

Earlier this month it was reported that Fortune Ocean had found a buyer for Xing Jing Hai and Xing Ning Hai, along with two other 2015-built handysizes, Xing Yuan Hai and Xing Zhi Hai.

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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