Report Into Death On Board Karratha Spirit

The Maritime Union of Australia has welcomed the release of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into the death of Australian seafarer Trevor Moore on board the Karratha Spirit off Western Australia in 2008.

The ATSB report released today highlights ongoing safety issues as the MUA and other organisations gather in Sydney to commemorate World Maritime Day.

MUA National Secretary and President of the International Transport Workers' Federation, Paddy Crumlin, said the ATSB report raised questions about jurisdiction over offshore facilities, vessels and oil rigs and reinforced the MUA's aim to have one safety regulator covering the industry.

He said the tragic death of Mr Moore, a 43-year-old father of two, highlighted there was still work to be done on safety standards on board ships working in the region.

"This report won't bring Trevor Moore back to his family, friends and colleagues but we hope that it will serve as a warning to shipping companies to ensure the very highest standards of safety are met, and not just in our region but all over the world," Mr Crumlin said.

"It also shows there are gaps within jurisdiction of such vessels and there is an urgent need for this problem to be addressed."

Mr Crumlin also acknowledged the Federal Government's response last week to the Marine Issues Report, which proposes that these gaps in jurisdiction be closed.

"This is a very positive response from the Federal Government, and the MUA now calls for the release of draft legislation as a priority to ensure stakeholders of a comprehensive jurisdictional outcome," he said.

Mr Crumlin said the MUA had also been working constructively with Teekay Shipping, the owners of Karratha Spirit, since the 2008 fatality to improve safety and the company had responded positively.

Trevor Moore was killed on 24 December 2008 in an accident on the Australian registered floating storage and offloading tanker, Karratha Spirit, when it began disconnecting from its mooring buoy at the Legendre Oil Field, about 60 miles north of Dampier, Western Australia, because of an approaching tropical cyclone.

Mr Moore was injured when the lashing to the mooring buoy parted, and the last three turns of heavy line rapidly unwound from the drum and struck him.

The investigation also found that it was possible, under some circumstances, that ships like

Karratha Spirit can fall outside the jurisdiction of any Australian safety regulators.

Mr Crumlin said there was ongoing confusion over the jurisdiction over offshore facilities, vessels and oil rigs.

He said after another accident on a platform supply vessel in November 2009, also off Dampier, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) took 24 hours to arrive at a decision on which body would investigate the accident.

Mr Crumlin said the MUA would seek urgent meetings with relevant authorities to discuss the ATSB report's findings.

"As with any tragedy, we hope there can be some good to come out of it, and the MUA will work hard to ensure the thousands of people who work in this industry are not put at unnecessary risk," he said.

The MUA submission to the inquiry stated: "The confusion (and potential for inappropriate decision making) arises because it is during emergency situations that vessels cease being facilities and revert to being vessels, under the jurisdiction of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority".

The union argued that this places undue power and decision making for safety management in the hands of the operator at the expense of both the workforce and the regulator.

"A major concern the MUA has with the current safety arrangements in the offshore oil and gas industry is that because the Navigation Act does not apply to ships which are defined as facilities, the maritime workforce is denied the protection and standards of various International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions, which Australia has ratified," the submission said.

A wreath will be laid at the Anchor Memorial at today's World Maritime Day in memory of Trevor Moore

For details of the MUA's commemoration of World Maritime Day in Sydney today

Media contacts: Justin Coomber 0457 833 896; Zoe Reynolds 0417 229 873.