ITF Shows Solidarity with Tandara Crew

The Tandara Spirit campaign was a topic of discussion at the International Transport Workers' Federation Fair Practices Committee in London and participants passed a motion in support of the tanker's crew and the wider MUA campaign.

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The ITF Fair Practices Committee:

1. Notes that the Tandara Spirit has been on long-term contract to Shell Australia, carrying petroleum products and crewed by members of the MUA, AMOU, and AIMPE. Vitol purchased Shell’s refinery business in Australia in August 2014, and trade under the name ‘Viva Energy Australia’.

2. Vitol is a Swiss and Dutch company that claims to be the world’s largest independent oil trading company and to control the movements of 200 ships a day and 6,065 ship voyages per year. It’s London-based subsidiary, Mansel Ltd, deals with shipping. Vitol is rapidly expanding, operating and purchasing refineries in 16 African countries, Australia, Switzerland, and Germany with associated companies including VTTI, Varo, Viva and Vivo Energy. In many cases Vitol use the Shell brand name.

3. Notes that the Tandara Spirit has an outstanding safety and service record. However, on 6 November 2014, the crew were notified that the charter would end early, and the ship would not be replaced. The crew remain on board and the ship remains at anchor outside Geelong near Melbourne.

4. Notes that Australia’s reliance on shipping for its supply of petroleum is increasing, and that Australia needs more ships like the Tandara Spirit, not fewer.

5. Notes that The Independent reported in July 2014 that Vitol carries out significant tax avoidance in the UK. Documents show that that Viva Energy Australia’s ultimate holding company is the ‘VIP Charitable Trust’ in Jersey, a well-known tax secrecy jurisdiction.

6. Is concerned at the consistently poor standard of ships that Vitol and Viva have chartered in to the Geelong refinery to replace the Tandara Spirit, including three ships that have been detained in one or more ports, a ship with an MLC pay violation and without an ITF agreement, and another ship with ABs paid $809 per month.

7. Requests that ITF affiliates who have any experience in dealing with Vitol or Mansel contact the MUA and the ITF with any information they have about these companies.

8. Requests that the ITF investigate whether Vitol use substandard shipping on a global level.

9. Offers its solidarity to the crew of the Tandara Spirit, who have offered a strong defence of their jobs and the future of cabotage in Australia.

10. Encourages ITF affiliates to send messages of solidarity to the crew of the Tandara Spirit.