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Bulk carrier detained in Australia; ITF alleges seafarers were forced to unlash containers at sea

VesselTracker photo

”In this instance they were lucky there was no major incident,” International Transport Workers’ Federation Australia coordinator Dean Summers said. ”In a worst-case scenario, the shifting cargo could have caused the ship to sink by compromising its stability.” VesselTracker photo.

A Hong Kong-based bulk carrier has been detained in Newcastle following allegations that its crew were forced to illegally unlash its cargo at sea.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority surveyors placed the Orient Becrux under port state control when they boarded the ship at noon.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation said the Filipino crew members were made to unlash cargo, which included rail cars, before the ship arrived in port.

Australian Health and Safety law dictates that cargo should only be unlashed by qualified Australian stevedores while the ship is berthed.

The union accused the ship’s operators of exploiting its crew. ‘‘This is money grubbing of the worst kind, whereby in order to save a few dollars you get an already exploited workforce to do work they’re not qualified to do and risk everyone’s life in the process,’’ said International Transport Workers’ Federation Australia coordinator Dean Summers.

More at the Herald

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