MANILA – The Australian Maritime Safety Authority last January 29 detained Bulk Brasil which was carrying Australian cargo bound for UK after reports surfaced about their seafarers not receiving their paychecks since September.
“The shocking thing is that this company has signed agreements with our organization to say that they will pay an international minimum standard and yet haven’t bothered paying them for four months. Now this is the crisis, when the human element comes to the fore,” said International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) National Coordinator Dean Summers during an interview.
He added, “Over the past 20 years the ships have improved, but the quality of management and respect for seafarers is probably at an all-time low.”
The ship is under the Japanese Company Keymax.
Summers said that they will conduct an investigation on the Australian company that owns the cargo. Moreover, the seafarers need to be paid.
“The Australian cargo owners, those that make profits selling their cargo to international markets, have to take responsibility for this,” Summers pointed out. “You can’t just put your cargo on the crappiest, cheapest ship, that doesn’t feed and doesn’t pay it’s seafarers and say it’s not your responsibility.”
He also mentioned, “So we’re looking for the cargo owner and we’ll be holding them up to some responsibility in this as well.”
Summers revealed that Keymax has a reputation of breaching the Maritime Labor code.
There are currently 20 unpaid Filipino workers on board the Bulk Brasil. They were promised to get certain fees for compensation but the company failed to provide to them.
“The reality is that if seafarers do complain, it can be very difficult for them to ever get another job,” said Summers.