Conditions on ships investigated in Newcastle 

SHIPS visiting Newcastle this week under flags of convenience will be investigated as part of a ‘‘sounding’’ of conditions for international seafarers.

It follows the September death of a seafarer in Newcastle.

International Transport Workers Federation inspectors will examine ships flying flags of convenience this week in a bid to ensure workers’ conditions are adequate.

National co-ordinator Dean Summers said flag of convenience vessels often evaded legislation protecting seafarers’ safety rights, potentially leaving them at risk.

He dedicated the inquiry to three seafarers killed on the Sage Sagittarius, which was stopped in Newcastle in September after chief engineer Hector Collado, 55, died.

‘‘We are boarding ships to protect the welfare, safety and dignity of international seafarers and we will be reporting to Australian authorities any abuse of rights or safety issues,’’ Mr Summers said.

‘‘We’re going to try and inspect every ship in the port this week and take a sounding of the conditions for seafarers.’’

Newcastle Port Corporation chief executive Gary Webb said the body would work closely to facilitate inspections and help deal with any breaches if they were discovered.

‘‘I would like to think Newcastle is viewed as a safe and welcoming port for seafarers,’’ Mr Webb said today.

‘‘We look forward to providing any assistance we may in addressing any issues that are found.’’

Inspections will be carried out this week.

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