Last Few Ports for Hugli Spirit Oil Tanker

· Honest, Australian jobs should not be replaced with exploited $2/hour workers
· Australia’s fuel security and natural environment should not be put at risk


The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is angry to see the final voyage of the Hugli Spirit, with 36 Australian crew on board.

The crew agreed to sail the vessel on Monday morning, after a tense 24 hour standoff, ahead of scheduled high level meetings between the union and Teekay to discuss Temporary Licence cargo and the possibility of that cargo being carried by the Hugli Spirit or a replacement vessel.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said the vessel and its predecessors have ensured the supply of fuel to the Queensland coast for over 50 years.

“In recent weeks, the crew of the Hugli Spirit have learnt that the ship will be removed from service and replaced with foreign vessels, with crew on as little as $2 an hour.

“It is also likely that conditions onboard are likely to be far below first world standards and we know that environmental safeguards could be all but non-existent. The Great Barrier. Reef is precious and must be protected with the highest safety standards, ” Mr Smith said.

“The ongoing closure of refineries around Australia means we now import 91 per cent of our petrol and diesel – up from 60 per cent in 2000 – and this number will continue to rise with the possible closure of Queensland’s two remaining refineries in the near future."

MUA Queensland Branch secretary Mick Carr said LNP Governments in Queensland and Canberra needed to lift their game.

“More than half of Australia's fuel comes through the Straits of Hormuz to Singapore and then through the narrow Straits of Malacca, an area already notorious for its piracy,” Mr Carr said.

“People in regional Queensland already pay more for their fuel – certainly more than in Brisbane – and this will get worse as more and more fuel comes from overseas.”

“There is currently a Senate holding an inquiry into fuel security but so far the Abbott and Newman Governments have done nothing.

“Why won’t Campbell Newman stand up to Canberra and act in the national interest, let alone protect local jobs and the pristine environment of the Great Barrier Reef?”

Campbell Newman’s own Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning has said in its submission that consumer prices could go up if nothing is done.