Expired contract of seafarers bring detention to a vessel in Australia

By Nithya Solomon, June 21, 2020

Australia detained a ship after it was found to have workers with expired contracts. These workers had not been repatriated to their home nations despite their expired contracts.

During this world pandemic, most seafarers have provided their service and kept business running by staying on board much longer than the requirement of the contract. Most of them have been extending their contract repeatedly, some of whom have stayed on board for more than a year which is against regulations. However, most ports have still not begun facilitating crew change.

Most ship owners are unable to conduct crew change because of restrictions at ports and travel restrictions raised by most governments due to which crew members are unable to transit home.

Ship owners are now demanding some amount of consideration to lower the barriers to seafarers to travel home and join duty on their vessels. Without the availability of resources for crew change, crew replacement becomes highly difficult and expensive especially for small ship owners who might have to use chartered flights to transit workers.

Detention of ships by ports can prove to be an effective measure to make provision of resources for crew change a necessity and facilitate a smooth process of crew change. The distortion caused in global supply can force Governments to waiver restrictions for transit of crew members and crew change.