The 36 Australian crew members of an Caltex tanker refusing to set sail after they were told their jobs would be gone after the next run. MR tanker Alexander Spirit (40,100 dwt, built 2007) is docked in Devonport, in Tasmania's north-west, now.
The Maritime Union of Australia says the shipping company is moving to replace Australian workers with foreign seafarers, who they say are sometimes paid as little as $2 an hour.
Under Australian cabotage laws, ships operating in domestic waters must employ Australian workers, but Caltex is redeploying the ship to international routes.
The ship is no longer needed to transport fuel from its Brisbane refinery to other parts of Australia, Caltex spokesman said Sam Collyer. "Clearly this is a tough decision," he said.
The Federal Government wants
to repeal cabotage laws. The Australian government
has proposed coastal shipping reforms in its new Budget, which it is hoped will simplify cabotage regulations in the country. One of the proposed reforms is to replace the “five-licence” requirement with a simple coastal permit.