ITF condemns 'politically motivated' Portland fines

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) Cabotage Taskforce has condemned as ‘unbelivable’ fines requested by Australia’s  Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) against crew members of the MV Portland.

ITF Cabotage Taskforce chair James Given stated. “This is shameful, unbelievable news. These men were defending their jobs when they were ejected from the ship that was their workplace in a dawn raid. Pursuing them in the court literally adds insult to injury. That the FWO is going down that path calls its motives into question. You have to ask if this move, coming as it does as Australia’s Productivity Commission pushes for maritime deregulation, is politically motivated.” (See )


Listen to The Wire Paddy Crumlin On MV Portland

ITF president and MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) national secretary Paddy Crumlin added: "Alcoa's actions have been condemned by the MUA, ITF* and seafarer unions around the world as an abusive attack on Australian seafarers' legal and national rights to work.

"Instead of cuddling up to this outrageous corporate behaviour by Alcoa the Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting hardworking Australian citizens who have always paid their taxes and taken no industrial action in this long-standing national shipping route over the last 27 years.

"The MUA will always defend any member who is dragged from their bunk at 1am while at work by dozens of security guards, given five minutes to pack their bags, and then unceremoniously dumped on the wharf.”

He concluded: “These hardworking Australian seafarers have been replaced by flag of convenience shipping which pays exploited foreign workers as little as USD2 an hour and registers ships in places like Liberia, Mongolia and Panama as part of one of the biggest tax avoidance scams on the planet.”

"One of the replacement vessels for the MV Portland even got busted paying bribes in Nigeria and Argentina. What is going on here?"

For more reactions from Australia please see the ACTU (Australia Council of Trade Unions) press release at