MEDIA ALERT: BRISBANE: First crew members from iron ore vessels axed by BHP and BlueScope return to Australia

Published: 24 Jan 2019

Sacked crew members from the last remaining Australian iron ore vessels operated by BHP and Bluescope, the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance, will begin returning to Australia from tomorrow morning.

Several crew members from the MV Mariloula will be available for interviews at the international arrivals area of Brisbane Airport tomorrow morning. They will be joined by MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith and ACTU president Michele O'Neil.

Earlier this month, the crew of both vessels were informed that BHP and BlueScope had decided, without consultation, to immediately axe their last remaining Australian-crewed iron ore vessels. The decision brought to an end more than 100 years of Australian seafarers carrying iron ore for BHP.

With both vessels at sea, the crew were told to continue on what were now their final journeys before flying back to Australia. The crew of the MV Mariloula are the first to return to Australia, while the MV Lowlands Brilliance remains at sea.

MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said the Morrison Government’s complete failure to provide a sustainable future for Australian shipping was directly responsible for the decline of the industry.

“Senior members of the Morrison Government should front up to Brisbane Airport tomorrow morning and explain to these decent, hard-working Aussie seafarers why their jobs don’t matter,” Mr Smith said.

“Instead of defending this vital industry, the Liberal National Coalition have spent the last five years actively undermining it, seeking to make it even easier for multinational companies to replace Australian seafarers with exploited foreign workers who are paid as little as $2 an hour.

“It’s not too late for the Federal Government to intervene. BHP and Bluescope can’t use exploited foreign seafarers to carry iron ore between Australian ports without a temporary license, and these licenses are subject to ministerial discretion.

“Rather than making excuses, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in his role as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport should use these powers to save these last Australian iron ore vessels.”


Sacked crew of axed BHP vessel return to Australia

When: 7am, Friday 25 January 2019

Where: Brisbane Airport (International Arrivals, Level 2)

Who: Crew members of MV Mariloula, MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith, and ACTU president Michele O'Neil, ALP MP Terri Butler. 


Media contact: Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney