Australia is cracking down on ships where seafarers are working beyond their original contract lengths.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has outlined its new approach to the crew change crunch effective through to October. Crew calling Australian waters can only work for a maximum of 11 months with certain caveats. A master must have a crew change plan before stay onboard can reach the 14 month period, approved by the ship’s flag state.
If a crewmember is found not to have a valid seafarer employment agreement (SEA), he or she will need to be repatriated. Any vessel found not meeting minimum safe manning requirements will not be able to leave port.
There will be no extensions of service without taking leave beyond 14 months unless the master or owner or both demonstrate satisfactorily to AMSA that all possible efforts have been expended to repatriate the seafarer without success and the seafarer has provided written confirmation accepting the extension.
Splash understands a number of ships have been detained in Australia in recent days over crewing issues.
In related crew repatriation news, Middle Eastern airline Etihad has just unveiled its flight schedule for the first half of July, which links its base Abu Dhabi with many of the world’s most important shipping centres, as well as crew hub, Manila.