10 May 2023

Mariners still stranded on vessel off Weipa

| Matt Nicholls
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Movers 3 is owned by Qatari company Aswan Shipping, which appears to be in financial stress, based on the fact that half of its six-ship fleet is non-operational.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has placed Movers 3 and sister ship Maryam in detention.

The latter is docked at Port Kembla in Wollongong.

AMSA said the ships would be released when they met regulations and were no longer in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention.

“Our inspector has made multiple trips out to Movers 3 since its detention in early March,” an AMSA spokesperson said.

“This week the Classification Society, on behalf of the flag State of Panama, attended the ship to undertake a flag state inspection focusing on crew welfare.

“Several inconsistencies, mostly relating to the write-up of crew contracts and documentation of work and rest hours, were identified and the flag state is working with the operator to resolve these issues. We are supporting the flag state and are pleased to see their engagement in resolving these issues. Our inspector also attended the ship at the same time.”

AMSA said Aswan Shipping was required to have Movers 3 surveyed to ensure that all of the ship’s certificates were revalidated.

“The ship will remain under detention in Weipa until this serious deficiency has been rectified.”

There are 21 crew members on board Movers 3 after the cook was repatriated from Weipa.

“Arrangements have been made on board for another qualified crew member, the ship’s steward, to step-in to this role in the absence of the cook who was repatriated in recent weeks,” AMSA said.

“The welfare of the seafarers on both Movers 3 and Maryam is AMSA’s highest priority, followed closely by the safety and seaworthiness of these ships.

“Crews on both ships have access to provisions and fresh water, those that have requested repatriation are having those requests facilitated wherever possible.

“We are maintaining open lines of communication with both crews.”

AMSA said it did not have a time frame on when either ship would be released, but sources told Cape York Weekly that it could take months.

“Our focus right now is ensuring that the operator, Aswan Shipping, rectifies the serious outstanding deficiencies on both ships,” the AMSA spokesperson said.

“We are working with all parties involved in this complex and concerning situation.

“We fully expect Aswan Shipping to step-up and fulfil its responsibility to maintain its ships and provide appropriate living and working conditions for its seafarers. Both ships will remain under detention until such time.”

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