Slick the oily surfer was joined by the Labor Party’s Federal member Sharon Claydon and State member Tim Crakanthorp, along with Greens Councilor Michael Osborne to warn the Newcastle community that a Pasha Bulker-type event could happen again with shipping regulation being dismantled.
More than 50 activists from a number of unions including the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, the Australian Workers’ Union, the Nurses Federation as well as a strong showing from the MUA headed down to the sands of Nobby’s to talk to the community taking part in a Nipper’s surfing event.
Sacked CSL Melbourne seafarer and Newcastle local also spoke about his personal journey upon learning he’d been sacked from the job he’d once loved.
A fortnight ago, in the port of Newcastle, five crewmembers were marched down the gangway of the Pacfic Aluminium chartered ship, the CSL Melbourne, by more than 30 police. Those same police escorted a foreign replacement crew, not subject to Australian wages or conditions, onto the ship to sail it away.
Pacific Aluminium was enabled by the Federal Turnbull Government to undertake this action by the Federal Government, who granted the company a special licence to exploit a loophole in coastal shipping legislation.
Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said by watering down legislation more under-regulated foreign ships would be allowed to trade on Australia’s coast, posing an increased risk to environmental and national security.
“Foreign ships that trade under the banned Flag-of-Convenience (FOC) have time and time again come under the spotlight for their atrocious practices when it comes to safety, environmental protection and labour rights,” Mr Smith said.
“You don’t need to look much further than two major incidents which happened right here in Newcastle, firstly the Pasha Bulka grounding in 2007 and the Sage of Sagittarius event, whereby three crew members died under very suspicious circumstances
“FOC in its nature attracts bottom feeding shell companies run by bosses which have little care for the natural environment, the welfare of its workers, or the ports in which their ships trade.”