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Published: 28 Apr 2023
MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
ASSISTANT NATIONAL SECRETARY
MUA Members join the Fugro Mariner to kickstart offshore wind near Gippsland, Victoria
28 APRIL 2023
Australian Seafarers have joined a specialist offshore vessel – the Fugro Mariner – that has arrived in Australia to participate in the development of the Star of the South offshore wind installation, near Gippsland, Victoria.
The Fugro Mariner will be crewed by Australian seafarers employed by Australian Offshore Solutions (AOS) on a union agreement while performing geotechnical work in the Bass Strait to enable offshore wind farm construction to commence.
The vessel has about 25 days of work in the Bass Strait, plus mobilisation and demobilisation voyages. Its task is to collect soil and rock samples from the sea floor and up to 70m beneath the seafloor to ensure the wind turbine foundations are designed to suit local seabed conditions.
The development is the latest win for maritime workers who have been campaigning from the grassroots for clean climate jobs and a Just Transition from the hydrocarbon industries.
The Maritime Union of Australia’s Assistant National Secretary, Adrian Evans, heralded the development as the culmination of many years’ work by the Union to encourage legislative and regulatory changes that would encourage offshore wind investment.
“MUA members on this vessel are among the first workers to work on an offshore wind project in Australia, and this is an important milestone in the development of offshore renewable energy in Australia,” he said.
The Maritime Union has been leading the charge for a two pronged response to the climate crisis and the need for a Just Transition for maritime workers. Firstly, investment in offshore wind farms, and secondly, the thorough decommissioning and recycling of disused or dilapidated offshore oil and gas infrastructure.
“The Maritime Union’s members built the offshore Oil and Gas industry over many years, but as the world shifts away from fossil fuels, it is critical that MUA members are engaged to fully decommission those disused offshore O&G assets and put our maritime skillsets towards building the new energy projects in offshore wind. In so doing, the future of the Union’s seafaring membership will be secured for generations to come,” Mr Evans explained.
Once operational, the Star of the South project is expected to provide 2.2GW of energy, representing the potential to supply up to 20% of Victoria’s electricity needs, powering 1.2 million homes.
“While we expect this to be the first of many vessels, performing the first of many voyages in pursuit of sustainable, clean energy around Australia’s coast, it is also an exciting and significant indicator of a rewarding and strategically significant future for Australian seafarers,” Mr Evans said.