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Australia Orders Repatriation of Overworked Bulker Crew

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 5, 2020

Australian officials have ordered the repatriation of nine Chinese and Filipino seafarers who have been working on board the bulk carrier Brio Faith for nearly two years without relief. 

The Panama-flagged bulker was inspected Monday in Port Alma, Queensland, where Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) personnel verified that three crew had been on board for over 12 months, four crew had been on board for over 16 months and two crew had been on board for over 20 months.

During the inspection the operator Tianjin Shun Xin Yuan Shipping Co LTD assured AMSA, and provided evidence, that crew would be repatriated the following day.

On Tuesday, the operator informed AMSA that those repatriation plans had fallen through. The owners requested that the seafarers remain onboard until the next port, Shanghai. AMSA did not accept this proposal due to the length of time the seafarers had already spent at sea.

AMSA issued a direction notice, prohibiting the ship from departing until all nine seafarers had been repatriated. Those seafarers are now making their way to Brisbane where they will embark international flights home to their families.

AMSA Operations North Manager Greg Witherall said the wellbeing of seafarers is more important now than ever before.

“Seafarers are keeping the world’s international shipping industry and economy going – they are critical,” Witherall said.

“It should be every operator’s and owner’s highest priority to ensure the welfare of their seafarers, and safety of their operations is maintained. Twenty months on board with no leave is completely unacceptable and will lead to increased risk of accidents.

“We will continue to enforce the Maritime Labor Convention, look after seafarers and ensure the safety of shipping.”

The Brio Faith embarked fresh crew to meet its minimum manning requirements and departed on Wednesday evening, AMSA said.

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