Chevron Contractor Stands Down Staff Onboard 'Highland Navigator' Following MUA Campaign

The Maritime Union of Australia's campaign to weed out illegal rorting of Australia's visa system by contractors on Chevron's $43 billion Gorgon Project in the North West Shelf has been vindicated with All Seas electing to remove foreign labourers from its vessel, the Highland Navigator.

The Maritime Union of Australia earlier this week uncovered evidence that most crew members onboard the Highland Navigator were allowed into Australia either on 651 tourist visas or Maritime Crew Visas (MCVs) and then employed onboard, contrary to Australian immigration law.

The union has today learned that between 10 and 15 foreign workers onboard the Highland Navigator have been ordered off the vessel by their employer following an investigation by the Department of Immigration.

MUA WA Branch Secretary Chris Cain said the Highland Navigator is now at anchor at Dampier Harbour and will need a fully certified crew before the ship can sail.

"Maritime contractors engaged by Chevron have been busted engaging in systematic rorting of visa requirements for foreign workers and we won't stand for it," Mr Cain said.

"The MUA congratulates the Department of Immigration for its swift action in investigating this matter."

MUA Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman said this type of visa rorting is totally unacceptable.

"All Seas should come to its senses and employ Australian workers on Australian conditions. The MUA is aware of many workers who would jump at the chance to work in the offshore oil and gas industry right now," Mr Doleman said.

"The MUA will be consulting with the offshore construction unions and the ACTU with the intention of developing a coordinated campaign to ensure that the integrity of the labour visa system is maintained."

The MUA uncovered evidence of visa rorting by All Seas when a meeting of MUA members on the Highland Navigator identified foreign crew being paid less than half the rate being paid to their Australian counterparts in the industry.

A regional meeting of the peak global transport union body, the International Transport Workers' Federation today passed a motion in Colombo, condemning the actions of Allseas and Chevron for:

  • Abusing the Australian visa and immigration system;
  • Allowing foreign labour to be hired at below union rates and conditions;
  • Undercutting conditions on the Gorgon LNG project;
  • Outsourcing of labour and jobs when local workers are available;
  • Running a clear example of social dumping, as defined by ITF standards and policies.