Caltex Chartered Ship Circumnavigates Australian Laws

A Caltex-chartered fuel tanker trading solely in Australian waters has been underpaying its foreign crew since the beginning of the year, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). 

Flag-of-convenience ship, the Phoenix Advance, has been carrying Caltex fuel back and forth between Queensland and South Australia on a domestic route and is therefore subject to Australian wages and conditions.

ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers said the Phoenix Advance was one of hundreds of ships operating under the largely unregulated temporary license system.

“Under current coastal shipping legislation, ships trading exclusively between Australian ports, such as the Phoenix Advance, should be flying an Australian flag and employing an Australian crew,” Mr Summers said.

“However, companies are increasingly applying for temporary licenses through Warren Truss’s Department of Infrastructure and once the license is granted it is never policed.

“It’s a rort and a complete disregard for the laws which were set up to protect Australian seafaring jobs and the Australian shipping industry.”

The ITF has lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsmen and is waiting for the FWO to act.

Last month Caltex sacked its Australian crew off the Alexander Spirit claiming there was no more domestic work to continue their employment.

As a result the tanker was held up in Devonport, Tasmania for 21 days before it sailed to its demise in Singapore and 36 workers were left without jobs.

“Caltex must take responsibility for their chartered ships and reconsider its commitment to Australian workers,” Mr Summers said.

The ship is currently berthed at the Caltex terminal in Brisbane, due to sail tomorrow.