Seafarers have taken to the airwaves in a concerted campaign calling on the Federal Government to save the Australian shipping industry.
The campaign kicked off on Monday and includes television advertisements highlighting the plight of the nation’s last iron ore vessels, which were axed by BHP last month.
Seafarers aboard the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance were informed by email that they no longer had a job transporting iron ore for BHP from Port Hedland to the BlueScope steelworks in Port Kembla,
This included Daniel Bell from Nowra. The 30-year-old seafarer arrived back in Australia last week – three weeks after being sacked while on the job in international waters.
Mr Bell and the rest of the crew aboard the MV Lowlands Brilliance were in the Coral Sea last month when told, via email, that BHP and BlueScope had axed the contracts of the last two Australian-manned vessels.
On Monday these seafarers expressed their disappointment and took their message directly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of his address at the National Press Club.
Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said BHP’s decision to replace Australian seafarers with foreign vessels crewed by exploited workers was only possible because of the willful inaction of the Federal Government.
“The Australian Government not only has the power to save these jobs, but they must do so for the sake of the entire industry and the critical role it plays,” he said.
“Our campaign has a simple demand: we want the Morrison Government to immediately withdraw all temporary licences for foreign ships that have been contracted to replace these Australian ships in this domestic trade.”