ITF Australia Raises the Alarm Over Security Vulnerability

An industrial dispute on board a Flag of Convenience ship in Newcastle now raises national security concerns, according to Dean Summers, ITF National Coordinator.

The flag of convenience bulk ship “Yangtze Oasis” was brought to the attention of the ITF following the death on board of the 2nd officer last week, which has been investigated by the NSW police and referred to the Coroner.

The ITF says this ship is a rogue operator, refusing to speak to ITF inspectors and only communicating through their Newcastle agent Monson Agencies.

Overnight attempts by the International Federation to identify the owners have uncovered a sophisticated network of front companies who have no relationship with the maritime industry

Visits to their offices in Hong Kong and Singapore have exposed these as sham shop fronts used to hide the beneficial owners.

The FOC system provides owners with advantages like tax avoidance and the capacity to hide the true owners of their vessels.

“This is of enormous concern for governments and our National Security and Crime Agencies trying to secure our borders,” said Mr Summers.

This threat has been identified by Department of Immigration and Border Protection in their submission into ongoing Senate enquiry into impact of FOCs on the Australian coast  – stating

“The regulatory, registration and compliance practices of the so-called FOC states have the potential to create vulnerabilities for Australia’s enforcement of laws in its maritime domain.

These vulnerabilities add to the attractiveness of FOC shipping to entities such as organised crime syndicates and other entities seeking to illegally exploit natural resources both within and outside the AEEZ.” 

The ITF are today calling on the Border Force to immediately investigate this ship before she completes loading Australian cargo.