The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed news that companies have embraced the new shipping legislation by manning their ships with Australian seafarers.
The Panamanian-flagged African Kingfisher and United Kingdom-flagged RTM Piiramu, which is owned by Rio Tinto, will now both operate with full Australian crews.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin, who worked tirelessly on the shipping reform campaign together with union officials and members, said there is much more to come from the legislation.
"This is only the beginning, better taxation arrangements for ships will mean that it is affordable - and profitable - for Australian companies to invest in shipping fleets,"
"Shipping reform is without doubt, one of the most important pieces of legislation passed by the federal government in Australian maritime history," Mr Crumlin said.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray has also welcomed the news and said that the new shipping legislation means that cabotage is back on the menu for seafarers worldwide.
“Australia has shown the way in international shipping – we have demonstrated that flag of convenience shipping can be defeated and that all seafarers have a right to work in the industry.”
“Since the passing of shipping reform we have fended off the campaign by conservative shippers, foreign ship owners and the federal opposition to destroy the legislation and the industry.” Mr Bray said.
The federal government introduced shipping reform in June 2012 after a seventeen year long campaign by the MUA.