ITF hopeful $64k alleged wage theft will be resolved
A CHINESE-owned bulk carrier is still detained and at anchorage off Gladstone, after it was discovered eight crew members were allegedly owed $64,000 in wages.
The vessel, Fortune Genius, was chartered to carry coal from Gladstone to Korea but on Friday it was detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Eight workers reported they had been bullied and forced to work excessive hours for which they were not paid and asked for help with being repatriated to Myanmar due to concerns for their safety.
International Transport Workers' Federation assistance coordinator Matt Purcell said the vessel would come to shore in Gladstone early this week, with hopes of the matter being resolved.
"We expect Fortune Genius to return to the load berth at the Port of Gladstone early this week for these matters to be finalised," Mr Purcell said.
"The vessel cannot sail until the eight crew members have been paid... and are flown back home.
"We are also awaiting the outcome of AMSA's audit of the vessel, which may uncover further breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention regarding the remaining crew members."
On Friday the ITF found fraudulent documentation, including two sets of books, which they allege had been used to conceal wage theft.
Fortune Genius is owned by Marine Fortune Union Company in China and managed by subsidiary New Fortune Genius Management Limited.
It had been chartered by Korean company Five Ocean Corporation to transport coal from Gladstone to Taean.
Mr Purcell said a growing number of unscrupulous shipping companies were using rogue manning agents to exploit vulnerable crew members from Myanmar.