The Guardian June 13, 2001


Greens bans on shonky ships

The Maritime Union marked World Environment Day  June 5  by 
conducting spot checks and applying green bans on flag-of-convenience ships 
in Australian ports to highlight the dangers these ships pose to the 
environment. The union is pursuing a campaign for the recommendations of 
the International Commission on Shipping report, "Ships, Slaves and 
Competition", to be implemented.

The recommendations include port bans on shonky ships, hefty fines for 
vessels detained for serious safety, environmental or labour breaches, and 
severe penalties for those who charter such ships, and the major ship 
owners who use them.

"Ships, Slaves and Competition" released in March this year, clearly 
exposes how sub-standard shipping poses a threat to human life and the 
environment. It warns of the danger of a major disaster off the Australian 
coast if the region continues to be the haunt of flag-of-convenience 
vessels, the notorious "Ships of Shame", shipping that has been shunned by 
Europe and the USA.

"Appalling. That's how we describe the Federal Government's shipping policy 
and the outrageous abuse of unskilled guest workers on our coast", said 
Maritime Union National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin.

"It is in contravention of immigration law and a threat to our marine 
environment. And it has to stop."

Mr Crumlin said shippers were rorting the single voyage age permit system 
to bring cheap, sub-standard vessels into Australia's coastal trade, 
effectively under the sponsorship of the Howard Government.

"We've already had a near disaster on our Great Barrier Reef just last 
year. A tragedy on the same scale as the more recent oil spills in Europe 
and the Galapagos Islands is now perilously close."

The union also marked World Environment Day by sponsoring a surf carnival 
at Tweed Heads where Maritime Union member