We issued Marine notice 04/2020—Maximum period of shipboard service for seafarers during COVID-19 pandemic, on 26 June 2020.
Since the notice was issued, we have received many Maritime Labour Convention complaints relating to the main themes in the notice.
- Seafarers serving at sea with expired Seafarer Employment Agreements(SEAs),
- No plans for the repatriation of seafarers after their employment agreements expire, and
- The amount of time spent onboard by a seafarer being in excess of 11 months.
Update: 29 October 2020
|Total number of complaints received
||137 of these have been investigated and resolved to AMSA’s satisfaction.
6 are under investigation and awaiting the ships arrival in Australia.
Inspections have been scheduled for these vessels.
Nature of complaints:
MN04/2020 complaints relate to SEA’s, repatriation, and time on board. Some complaints include just one element, and some include all three.
The following provides an indication of how many complaints related to:
|Expired Seafarer Employment Agreements
||90% of complaints referenced expired, invalid, or extended Seafarer Employment Agreements.
||93% of complaints referenced a lack of repatriation plan for one or more seafarers.
More than 11 months onboard*
(One or more seafarers)
||27% at least 11 months or more on board
23% at least 12 months or more on board
14% at least 13 months or more on board
17% at least 14 months or more on board
18% at least 15 months or more on board
*This data refers to the number of complaints where one or more seafarers had been on board for more than 11 months without leave/repatriation.
We are investigating every MLC complaint received. For some complaints, the ship has not arrived in Australia or is not coming to Australia.
For ships that are not coming to Australia, we refer the complaint to the ship’s flag State Administration, and where possible, the port State Administration for its next destination.
For ships that have not arrived in Australia, we schedule an inspection for when it arrives. We may also contact the shipowner, master or agent via email to resolve the complaint. Where serious concerns are found, we will issue deficiencies and detain the ship.
Detentions and deficiencies
Since we issued Marine notice 04/2020, on 26 June 2020, we have identified the below deficiencies and detentions that are related to the marine notice.
The below statistics are valid for the period 26 June – 28 October 2020.
|Total number of port State control (PSC) inspections conducted
|Total number of deficiencies issued that relate to MN04/2020.
(to 140 ships)
|Of the 218 deficiencies:
Eleven of these ships were detained (see below for more info).
- 142 deficiencies were issued requiring rectification before the ships departure (AMSA has received information that these deficiencies have been addressed).
- 73 deficiencies required rectification at a specific port in accordance with an agreed plan, or within 14 days.
Eleven detentions linked to Marine Notice 04/2020
Since the release of Marine Notice 04/2020, eleven ships have been detained because of MLC related deficiencies. Five of these were directly related to the issues identified in the marine notice.
SKS Doyles - The Norwegian flagged oil tanker was detained because 11 seafarers were found to have expired employment agreements. Five seafarers were found to have extended employment agreements with no evidence of flag State agreement of these extensions. The ship was also detained for the failure to maintain the vessel in accordance with mandatory regulations (MLC).
Grand Venture – The Panama flagged bulk carrier was detained for failing to provide decent working and living conditions required under Article IV of the MLC. Part of this failure was that there was no plan in place for the repatriation of seafarers.
Agia Sofia - The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained due to systemic underpayment of seafarers, with $45,000 AUD owed to the seafarers onboard. Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for six months (banned). Read the media release for the banning of this ship.
TW Hamburg – The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained due to the ship failing to provide decent working and living conditions required under Article IV of the MLC. This included systemic underpayment of seafarers, failure to provide sufficient quantity and quality of food and attempts to coerce seafarers to withdraw their complaints. Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for 12 months (banned). Read the media release for the banning of this ship.
Interlink Fortuity – The Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier was detained for minor underpayment of wages for several seafarers. Complaints relating to this ship had been received by AMSA, which prompted AMSA to inspect this ship.
Unison Jasper – The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier was detained in Newcastle on 30 July 2020 for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention. AMSA is continuing investigations into the seriousness and repeated nature of these breaches.
On Friday 31 July 2020, 11 crew members were landed ashore and transferred to Sydney for quarantine while they await repatriation to their home country.
The ship has shifted to a layup berth as replacement crew are organised by the ship’s operator. The ship will not be permitted to leave Newcastle until the minimum safe manning standards can be met to the satisfaction of AMSA and the ship’s flag State.
Due to the systemic nature of the underpayment, the ship was directed to not enter or use an Australian port for six months (banned).
Read our media release for the banning of this ship.
Ben Rinnes –The Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier was detained in Geelong on 7 August 2020. Two seafarers had served onboard for more than 14 months, with no flag approved/mutually agreed plan for repatriation and leave. Three seafarers were disembarked in total from the ship and are currently waiting repatriation.
AC Sesoda – The Panama flagged bulk carrier was detained in Mourilyan on 10 September 2020. Objective evidence was found that indicated more than one set of wage accounts in use. Multiple seafarers were found to be systemically underpaid. The AC Sesoda has been banned from Australia for 12 months as of 17 Sep 2020.
Star Eva – The Maltese bulk carrier was detained in Abbot Point on 25 September 2020. Objective evidence was found that seafarers were not being paid as per their respective Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEAs) and some seafarers were working hours in excess of their SEAs. Outstanding wages were paid and a rectification action plan provided to ensure seafarers do not work hours beyond their contracts.
Yangze 8 – The Liberian flagged bulk carrier was detained in Port Kembla on 13 October 2020 for breaches to the Maritime labour Convention. The ship remains under investigation.