A shipyard company will face a Brisbane court over allegations it underpaid a Jamaican engineer by $44,000.

A Jamaican engineer allegedly earned just $3 an hour while being underpaid more than $44,000 for 10 months’ work at a Brisbane shipyard.

It’s claimed the full-time employee, who repaired and maintained ships docked in Brisbane, pocketed just $5000 in that time working for Sierra Fleet Services from May 2012.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal action in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane against Sierra and company general manager Harold Van Haltren.

It claims they made just a single payment of $5000 to the man during his 10 months of employment.

This means the man, who was in Australia on a maritime crew visa and later a 457 visa, was underpaid by more than $44,000.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayments when they investigated a complaint from the employee. Record-keeping and pay slip laws were allegedly also breached.

Mr Van Haltren faces up to $60,000 in fines, with Sierra Fleet Services facing maximum penalties of about $300,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company, which was recently barred from being a business sponsor of overseas workers for a period of five years to back-pay the worker in full.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on October 30.