The Guardian March 14, 2001


Crew abuse on ships of shame

On March 7 MUA officials met a ship at Port Lincoln whose Filipino crew 
had not been paid for five months. The MUA points out that it is not only a 
matter of wages; crew abuse and environmental plunder go hand in hand. "The 
same ships that abuse crews pollute our oceans", said Sean Chaffer.

"At the same time as the grounded Bunga Teratai Satu (a foreign flagged 
ship) was threatening our world heritage Great Barrier Reef last year, two 
seafarers were incinerated during a fire on a ship off the west coast and 
another three burnt to death off the east coast. And who has forgotten 
Rommel Salvador who jumped ship to escape horrific abuse on the Panamanian 
ship MV Hunter a few years back?"

The MUA supports the proposals to clean up world shipping put by ICONS. 
These include penalising shippers that charter substandard vessels and 
banning ships from Australian waters that have high detention rates. But 
the union does not hold out much hope for improvement on the Australian 
coast under the Howard Government.

"The Federal Government is politically and morally bankrupt on shipping 
policy", said MUA National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin. "They are apologists 
for the new slave traders of international shipping.

"They embrace the worst and most corrupt elements in the industry  all in 
the pursuit of cheap freight rates. This government has been complicit in 
the international rorting, exploitation, human rights abuse and 
environmental plunder perpetrated by the worst elements of the world's 
shipping industry.

"Australia needs to address five years of negligence in the industry or 
face a major shipping disaster", said Paddy Crumlin.

Back to index page