Senator Sterle Condemns Turnbull Government Over Abuse Of Maritime Laws – Again!

Under the watch of Malcolm Turnbull, 40 Australian seafarers have been sacked due to his government’s blatant abuse of maritime laws, allowing a foreign owned ship to hire foreign workers in place of Australians.

The Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) Thevenard, which has been operating around the Australian coast for nearly a decade, sailed to China recently where its Australian crew was sacked on Wednesday.

These Australian seafarers will most likely be replaced with foreign workers. CSL have a history of doing this. The CSL Brisbane was taken off the coast in October last year and has already returned as the Adelie which is flagged out of the Bahamas.

The Coastal Trading Act 2012 states very clearly that coastal shipping should be undertaken by Australian vessels and/or crew.

If an Australian vessel is not available, the Government may grant a company with a temporary licence to move cargo.

“If there are Australian seafarers sitting around who can do this work, they must be given preference,” Chair of the Senate inquiry into Flags of Convenience Glenn Sterle said.

“This precedence that the Government is setting in regards to the offshoring of seafarer work is absolutely appalling.

“Why does the Turnbull Government continue to sell out Australian seafarers? What do they have to gain from doing this? Malcolm Turnbull has turned his back on these 40 seafarers. How is this acceptable?

“I thought I’d seen it all when the crew from the MV Portland were removed from the ship in the middle of the night. I can’t believe Malcolm Turnbull has allowed it to happen again.

“The CSL Thevenard has been carrying cement, fly-ash, gypsum, mineral sands around the Australian coast since 2008. Up until now, this work has been conducted safely by qualified Australian seafarers. Exploited crew on Flag of Convenience vessels earn as little as $1.20 an hour, have less training and are often unaware of our fragile coastal environment. Malcolm Turnbull is not only making it easier for companies to exploit foreign workers, he is putting Australia’s coastline at risk.

“The demise of the Australian seafaring industry and Australian jobs lie wholly and solely at the feet of the Prime Minister,” Senator Sterle said.

“So much for the three word Liberal slogan of ‘Jobs and Growth’ – under this Government, its jobs and growth, as long as it’s not Australians,” said Senator Sterle.

Media contact: Ben Wholagan 0400 685 543