MaritimeNews ® 03-Feb-2016 11:00

Image Courtesy: MUA
The 16 Australian crew on board the CSL Melbourne have been locked out from accessing food, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) which believes that this is another attempt to get them to leave the ship.
The CSL Melbourne, which transports alumina from Gladstone to Newcastle, along with its 16 Aussie crew members have been sacked by their charterer Pacific Aluminium, which claims the vessel is too big for the route, especially following the closure of Kurri Kurri smelter in 2014. As a result, the ship is being sent to Singapore where its crew would be replaced by a foreign one.
The Aussie crew of the CSL Melbourne are refusing to leave the ship ever since they received the notice.
“In a disgraceful move, locks have been put on the fridges and all fresh food removed from the ship,” MUA said.
“These are convict rations as bad as what was given to prisoners on the First Fleet sailing out to Australia,” MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said.
Pacific Aluminum resorted to the move having been granted a temporary license for 30 voyages from the Turnbull Government last month enabling it to replace the ship’s crew with cheap foreign labour.
As a result, CSL Melbourne has been replaced by the Flag of Convenience (FOC) ship Skyfall, operated by Greek Company “Prime Bulk Ship Management” on the route.
According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Australian company Pacific Aluminium is directly responsible for chartering a vessel that does not have an ITF agreement, protecting its Seafarers most basic rights.
ITF National Coordinator Dean Summers said chartering such a “phantom ship” represents a whole new low in the political attack on Australian shipping.
“Pacific Aluminium has made a conscious decision to charter a Liberian ship, who’s owner refuses to sign on to minimum international standards for Seafarers welfare, conditions and security.
“It’s highly unusual, irresponsible and provocative for this company to use an FOC ship that doesn’t even have an ITF agreement” Summers added.
Summers stressed that “it is a top secret” how much the entire Filipino crew are getting paid and “what their work conditions are.”
“They are already some of the most vulnerable seafarers in the world who are now being forced into clandestine workplace relations simply to boost profits for Pacific Aluminum and at the cost of Australian jobs,” he went on to say.
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