The crew of the Emergency Towage Vessel Coral Knight will rally today at Cairns Wharf, pleading to be able to protect the people of Queensland at their time of great need, enduring Cyclone Debbie.
The crew fear public safety will be put at risk if they are replaced with a cheaper alternative during this severe weather crisis, under a new government contract given to Teekay (TK) Shipping via Australian Maritime Systems (AMS).
“To undertake such an action while the community is under cyclonic threat is reprehensible and something we believe we have an obligation to expose to the community,” a crew statement said.
The crew says they’re willing to lay down their own lives to protect the Queensland community suffering under Cyclone Debbie.
“We are highly qualified seafarers who have hundreds of years of collective experience in dealing with critical seagoing safety operations,” the crew stated.
Their experience is needed more than ever, with ABC reports yesterday the navy’s two biggest ships were unable to join the Cyclone Debbie emergency response because of engine troubles.
MUA Queensland Assistant Branch Secretary Paul Gallagher said TK had already hired an alternative crew at a cheaper rate, and failed to consider even one of the current highly trained crew.
“TK has filled positions in this vital service protecting the Great Barrier Reef paying up to $15,000 less, 4% less superannuation and a big reduction in leave allowances,” Mr Gallagher said.
The current crew stated it believed this action by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), TK and AMS was based purely on reducing costs and gouging extra profit on this very lucrative government contract.
“We call on AMSA, TK, and AMS to do the right thing by the community and maintain the workforce, who will lay down their lives for the safety and security of the Queensland people.”