A political protest rally took place in Brisbane on Friday in support of the Australian crew of the British Loyalty, who have been given two months’ notice by BP that the vessel is finishing up on the Australian coast.
The British Loyalty crew had a long-running contract to move fuel for BP around the Australian Coast but will be replaced by foreign crew on as little as $2 an hour.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said it was vital for the community to draw a line in the sand as this would be the third tanker to go in nearly as many months.
“The crew of the British Loyalty are decent, honest, hardworking Australians,” he said.
“They just want to feed their kids, pay their mortgages, and work under Australian conditions. Instead, BP wants to give them the sack and replace them with foreign crew on as little as $2 an hour.
“The vessel is in Brisbane and the crew are in discussion with the union about their options. They are a very staunch crew and are not only worried about their futures but also angry about the demise of Australian ships and their treatment by BP.
“Australia should not allow its workers to be undermined by this disgraceful employer behavior. We don’t want our precious marine environment exposed to Flag-of-Convenience ships with their exploited crews and lack of standards.
“The Abbott Government has allowed our fuel security to be placed in the hands of foreign-owned companies who evidently have no regard for Australian workers or Australian interests.
“The community needs to let the federal government know this is a bridge too far. We know there is enough cargo to sustain another general license ship on the Australian coast and that having a local crew costs less than one per cent extra at the bowser.
“Australia needs a fuel security plan. It’s time the Abbott Government acted on this important issue which not only has implications for fuel security but also national security and environmental safety as well.”