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.