The peculiar case of abandoned container ship that’s been stranded off the coast of Victoria since September

  • Filipino seafarers stranded on abandoned ship off Victoria
  • Journey abandoned after a crack was discovered it its hull
  • The sailors are owed more than $250,000 in unpaid wages

By Padraig Collins /Daily Mail

Stranded crew members (pictured left and centre) are bing helped by the International Transport Workers’ Union, The Seafarers Mission to Portland and the Salvation Army

A crew of Filipino sailors have been stranded on an abandoned ship off the south-west coast of Victoria for four months and their maritime insurance is about to end.

There were originally 36 crew on the Liberian-flagged Yangtze Fortune container ship when it anchored in Portland on September 28.

It was supposed to deliver cattle to China but that journey was called off after a crack was discovered in its hull.

The federal government recently allowed 19 of the sailors to fly home to the Philippines – reducing the ‘safe manning’ level – while another man had already left.

But the immediate future of the remaining 16 men onboard is uncertain, with the ship’s insurance due to run out on January 31 and $250,00 owed in unpaid wages.

With no supplies being provided to the crew by its owners, another looming date is February 10, when the ship will be sold by court order in an effort to recover debts.

Last month, the Federal Court of Australia found the Yangtze Fortune’s Chinese owners abandoned the ship and its crew and owed a huge sum to creditors.

The vessel is under the care of a Federal Court Admiralty Marshal – someone who takes responsibility for ships when they are subject to court orders.

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Another reason the situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible is the ship has become an obstacle for others waiting to dock at Portland.

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