ITF Blames BHP for Starving Crew

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 13, 2019

Pic: International Transport Workers’ Federation

Pic: International Transport Workers’ Federation

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) informed that crew members aboard a ship at a BHP terminal in Queensland are being neglected and underpaid.

"Crew aboard a ship at a BHP terminal in Queensland claim they are being starved and underpaid, in yet another instance of the coal giant’s veil of secrecy over its operations in Australian waters," said an ITF release.

A seafarer aboard an 80,000-tonne bulk carrier, the Villa Deste, contacted ITF pleading for help. The starving crew claims to have no food and no onboard wages, and being fed on a $4 food budget per day.

BHP is continuing to block ITF’s requests to inspect the vessel, currently at anchor at BHP’s Hay Point Coal Terminal in Mackay, north Queensland, which is due to berth tomorrow.

“Seafarers are starving at BHP’s terminal in Queensland, and if BHP continues to deny the ITF access, ignoring these seafarers’ most basic rights to be fed and paid, then it is no better than the worst Flag of Convenience operators,” said ITF national coordinator Dean Summers.

“BHP told media today that the vessel was not chartered by the company, but it’s BHP coal being sold and loaded onto the Ville Deste. To now claim that they have no responsibility for the conditions onboard these vessel when they arrive at their port, to load their coal, demonstrates an extraordinary failure to uphold basic ethical standards in their global supply chain.

“ITF inspectors along with faith-based welfare providers have rights to access ships clearly defined in the international maritime security code and Australia's national security legislation. BHP claim to have a process for access, but continue to refuse our requests and question our legitimate right of entry,” he said.

The Liberian-flagged Villa Deste is owned by a Greek company Evalend Shipping Company S.A.. The ITF also inspected another vessel owned by the company, the Penelope L. on 3 July 2018 at the Port of Fremantle and found the same issues, employing seafarers on the lowest conditions possible and supplying decaying food to the crew.

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