Hong Kong flagged bulk carrier Five Stars Fujian has been banned from Australian ports for 12 months once it was discovered that the vessel lacked sufficient provisions for its intended voyage and the crew had not been paid in several months.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued the ban after detaining the vessel August 12. The vessel has been at anchor off Gladstone since July when it was arrested by the Federal Court over a commercial matter.
“The crew of the Five Stars Fujian have been forsaken off the Australian coast for over two months, with limited supplies and thousands of dollars of unpaid wages,” said AMSA General Manager of Ship Safety Allan Schwartz. “This is a completely unacceptable way for a company to treat their crew and this kind of conduct will not be tolerated in Australia.”
Since the vessel was detained, AMSA has been in regular contact with the owners of the ship, Five Stars Fujian Shipping Co of Hong Kong, to resolve the matters concerning outstanding wages and resupply of the vessel.
AMSA received confirmation that outstanding crew wages have been paid, the vessel has been resupplied with fuel and sufficient provisions are on board for the vessel’s safe passage. An AMSA inspector attended the vessel to conduct a final inspection and confirm with the crew readiness to sail.
The ship was then released from detention, but AMSA immediately issued the master with a direction notice banning the operators from bringing the vessel to any Australian port for 12 months.
“While we are pleased that ultimately the issues of outstanding wages and supplies was able to be resolved by those associated with the ship, the amount of time it has taken has been extraordinary,” Schwartz said.
“AMSA hopes that this banning will serve as a warning to other shipping companies that if they wish to do business in Australian waters they must abide by their international obligations and manage their crew in a proper manner.”