(updated 17 11 20)
AIMPE Monthly Meetings to resume from 24th November
(posted 17 11 20)
Following the relaxation of COVID-19 related restrictions , AIMPE Monthly Meetings will resume in the usual locations around Australia on 24th November.
While the restrictions have been relaxed they have not been completely abolished. So in each location it will be necessary to comply with the current State Government requirements. In some States this includes limits on the total number of people who can gather in an indoor space and there are also provisions requiring 4 square metres of space per person [2 m² in WA].
Accordingly, the Federal Executive has asked each Branch to arrange a videoconference if possible to enable members to participate remotely. This has already been used by some Branches in conducting recent Branch meetings.
Queensland coastal shipping promise
(updated 03 11 20)
Queensland may take the lead in the revival of the Australian coastal shipping industry following the re-election of the Palaszczuk Government on 31st October.
Just prior to the Queensland State election the Minister for Transport Mr Mark Bailey made an announcement which could prove significant for seafarers based in Queensland. The election eve promise was to commit $21 million in funding over two years to support a shipping service between Brisbane and Townsville.
The promise attracted media coverage in a number of local papers in the Townsville region. In the media release issued by the Minister it was stated that the new shipping service will be funded out of the existing port budget. The Minister indicated that there would be 40 jobs created initially. There was also an indication that the proposal would include a training component. It will be interesting to see if promise is delivered in the first year of the newly re-elected Government term of office.
For more information go to the Shipping page in the drop-down menu under Industry Sectors
AIMPE calls for exemption for Trident
(posted 26 10 20)
AIMPE has written to the Western Australian Government seeking and exemption for members on the Trident LNG tankers from the quarantine requirements of the new Directions issued on 19th October known as the WA Quarantine (Closing the border) Approval Maritime Crew (No 4).
A copy of the letter is available here:
AIMPE_letter_to_Premier_M_McGowan_WA_23_10_20.pdf (182.61 KB Mon Oct 26 10:06:26 2020)
This letter has been forwarded to all AIMPE members working for Trident LNG - with a suggestion that they write a personal letter to the Premier and the other Ministers expressing their own views.
AMOU has advised that they will be sending correspondence in support.
AIMPE and AMOU reject Coastal Shipping proposals
(posted 26 10 20)
AIMPE and AMOU have made another submission to the Australian Government rejecting the latest proposal on Coastal Shipping.
The reform of coastal shipping was put on hold soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposals contained in the September 2020 Coastal Trading Reform of Cargo Vessels – Discussion Paper seem designed to make life easier for the operators who exploit the Temporary Licence system which has allowed foreign flag ships with foreign crews to dominate many parts of the coastal shipping sector.
There is nothing in this proposal which will assist in growing the Australian flag coastal shipping sector. It will just make life simpler for the users of foreign shipping services on the Australian coast.
There is no indication that the Federal Government is concerned about the lack of sovereign control of Australia’s domestic shipping needs. This stands in stark contrast to the policy of many other countries for example Canada who give clear priority to Canadian flag ships in their domestic, coastal trades.
Under this policy proposal there will be no opportunities for young Australians seeking a career at sea. No training for young Australians.
The Discussion Paper exhibits a lack of any vision for increasing the level of Australian participation in the coastal shipping industry. For these reasons AIMPE and AMOU do not support the proposed changes.
The full joint submission can be read here:
AIMPE_AMOU_submission_on_Coastal_Trading_Reform_for_Cargo_Vessels_Sept_2020_final_23_10_20.pdf (272.84 KB Mon Oct 26 10:31:16 2020)
Two previous joint submissions from AIMPE and AMOU were attached to the latest submission and they can be read here:
AIMPE_AMOU_submission_to_Senate_Select_Committee_on_COVID_19__02_06_20_.pdf (214.00 KB Thu Jun 11 10:48:23 2020)
AIMPE_and_AMOU_Submission_to_the_Joint_Committee_on_Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade_re_COVID_19.pdf (267.88 KB Mon Oct 26 10:34:49 2020)
WA Quarantine (Closing the border) Approval Maritime Crew (No 4)
(posted 21 10 20)
The Western Australian Government has suddenly and without any consultation made further changes to the arrangements for maritime crew seeking to enter WA.
The fourth Maritime Crew Approval Direction will make it far more difficult for seafarers coming from overseas on ships to enter WA. The Direction seems to mean that all seafarers coming from overseas on ships will be required to go into 14 days quarantine unless they are transitting out of WA. That is, the time spent at sea will not be regarded by WA as part of quarantine time. This contradicts the approach taken by Australian Border Force since April.
If strictly implemented it may mean that members on the Trident LNG ships will be required by the WA Government to quarantine in WA both ways - when entering WA to join and when re-entering WA to go on leave.
In addition the new Direction appears to mean that seafarers will not be allowed to travel on commercial flights within WA. All seafarer crew changes will need to be carried out using exclusive charter flights and exclusive ground vehicles. No sharing with crews from other vessels and no scheduled commercial services.
AIMPE is seeking clarification about these changes.
The full text of the new Approval No. 4 can be found here:
WA_201020_Quarantine_Closing_the_Border_Directions_Approval_for_Maritime_Crew_No_4_under_27r.pdf (729.84 KB Wed Oct 21 09:21:25 2020)
Global Seafarer - October 2020 edition
(uploaded 13 10 20)
Global Seafarer is the digital newspaper of the Nautilus Federation - the UK-based international group formed by maritime officers unions including AIMPE. The newspaper contains plenty of information on maritime developments around the world. The October 2020 edition of the Global Seafarer can be accessed here:
20.10_OCT_GlobalSeafarer.pdf (2.12 MB Tue Oct 13 17:10:46 2020)
World Maritime Day
International Nautilus Federation joint statement
(posted 24 09 20)
The UK based Nautilus Federation has released a joint statment about the plight of international seafarers to mark World Maritime Day for 2020.
Both AIMPE and AMOU have endorsed the joint statement.
Here is a link to the statement:
NFed_JointStatement_SEP20_final1.pdf (555.80 KB Thu Sep 24 10:45:15 2020)
AMSA 2nd extension
STCW Certificates of Competency
(posted 21 09 20)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has made a decision to further extend STCW Certificates of Competency in response to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
Six months after the initial extension AMSA has issued a new Marine Notice 9/2020 advising of the further extension:
marine-notice-9-2020-seafarer-certificates-.pdf (98.92 KB Mon Sep 21 14:30:47 2020)
This is a sensible decision given all of the restrictions on travel that remain in placed with many States continuing to place harsh restrictions on entry from other "hot spot" locations.
DCV Certificates of Competency
AMSA has also issued a new DCV Safety Alert 07/2020 advising of the further extension:
AMSA advises that:
If you have a National Law certificate of competency (not suspended or revoked) that expires between 26 March 2020 and 31 January 2021, you have an extension to your certificate until the earlier of 31 July 2021 or 12 months from the date your certificate expired. You must continue to comply with the conditions of the expired certificate.
You do not need to apply for this exemption, it will happen automatically.
You will still receive a renewal notice identifying the day the certificate expires, but you can defer this renewal until the extension for your certificate expires.
Seafarers who meet the eligibility requirements for revalidation, and can make an application before the expiry date of the certificate, are encouraged to apply to revalidate their certificate before it expires.
There is no change to the process for applying for renewal of a certificate.
Queensland tightens protocol for Maritime Crew
(posted 21 09 20)
The Queensland Government has decided to tighten up on the protocols applying to maritime crew entering Queensland.
Queensland Health has issued version 3 of its protocol which will be effective from 25th September:
Qld__20200918_-_APPROVED_-_Maritime_Protocol.pdf (1.36 MB Mon Sep 21 15:04:17 2020)
AIMPE has been working with Maritime Safety Queensland to try to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on members however if Victoria and NSW remain as declared hot spots by Queensland Health there will be difficulties for Queensland residents who work in either Victoria or NSW. They will be required to quarantine for 14 days when they return home to go on leave.AIMPE has asked for clarification in relation to Queensland residents who are returning from work in other [non-hot spot] States/Territories.
Residents of Victoria and NSW who work on vessels in Queensland will also be required to do 14 days quarantine when they enter Queensland UNLESS they proceed directly to their ship via a safe corridor.
Newcastle Branch 2020 elections extended
(updated 17 09 20)
The Australian Electoral Commission has notified that it is extending the Newcastle Branch 2020 Branch Secretrary Election until 10.00 am on 6th October 2020.
The official AEC notice can be viewed here:
E2019-197_-_Extension_of_ballot_period_.pdf (99.97 KB Thu Sep 17 15:37:11 2020)
WA Quarantine (Closing the border) Approval Maritime Crew (No 3)
(posted 24 08 20)
The Western Australian Government has now formalised the changes to the arrangements for maritime crew seeking to enter WA.
This provides a path for maritime crew from Eastern States and overseas to enter WA and go into quarantine before boarding their vessel.
It is not automatic.
Applications will need to be lodged and employers will have to provide the WA Police with detailed evidence prior to any approval to enter being granted.
This follows the approvals granted to Solstad and Trident members earlier this month.
Thanks to AIMPE Director of Government Relations Mr Michael Bakhaazi for the efforts he put in behind the scenes is assisting with those approvals.
The new conditions are contained in a new set of approval guidelines which took effect at midnight on 20th August.
Here is a copy of the new Approval for Maritime Crew No 3 guidelines:
WA_Quarantine_Closing_the_border_Approval_Maritime_Crew_No_3.pdf (598.18 KB Mon Aug 24 10:17:05 2020)
This latest Approval guideline has to be read in conjunction with other WA Government Directions.
AIMPE has received the following advice from WA Transport:
- Previously International Maritime Crew could quarantine at a crew hotel, and but now have to go to a supervised quarantine (Ie WA Govt managed quarantine hotel);
- Domestic / interstate crew will be given a quarantine direction which could stipulate quarantine at a crew hotel or a supervised quarantine hotel ;
- WA Police advised that the intention is for Victorian crew to also be directed to supervised quarantine hotel. At this stage it is possible that crew from NSW will also be directed to supervised quarantine hotel, but it is not set in stone that this has to occur, so directions could be to a Crew Hotel for them at the moment;
- If other states get higher COVID19 cases, they could then receive the same directions as the Victorian crew;
- The new NO 3 direction is drafted to allow for this change to occur without the need for another revised direction;
- WA Police advised that G2G applications that do not include a nominated Crew Hotel will be rejected, and the appropriateness of the Crew Hotel is assessed with the G2G application approval process;
- The other changes are around not allowing visitors, is to address situations where other people have visited people in quarantine and then possibly exposed the community to COVID19 risk.
WA Police advise that applications for entry into WA for Maritime Crew are assessed under the Quarantine (Closing the Border) Directions – Approval for Maritime Crew (No 3) under Paragraph 27 (r) direction, and then the Quarantine (Closing the Border) Amendment Directions (No3) – in particular Section 5 e (ii) is applied, which means that if they are from Victoria or NSW they will have the extra scrutiny, and the Quarantine Directions will likely be to Supervised Quarantine, and they are restricted to only enter WA via Perth (where they will quarantine).
Elections postponed due to COVID-19 second wave
(posted 28 07 20)
The Australian Electoral Commission has suspended the conduct of industrial elections due to the second wave of COVID-19 cases - mainly in Victoria.
For further details please see the Elections page in the About AIMPE tab.
Meanwhile the Registered Organisations Commission has advised that while the elections processes have been postponed current office holders will continue to hold office.
For further details please see the Elections page in the About AIMPE tab.
Second wave COVID-19 restrictions
(posted 23 07 20)
The second wave of COVID-19 cases in Victoria has wiped out all of the optimism about Australia returning to life as normal – or anything like it! All other States have imposed new restrictions on everyone who has been in Victoria during the previous 14 days. This is causing even greater difficulties for the maritime industry. For many members who travel interstate or internationally for work, the situation is now very difficult.
AIMPE has been lobbying State and Federal Governments to try to get seafarer exemptions applied but the high level of new cases every day in Victoria has clearly spooked everyone.
The restrictions are now tighter than ever. Members are travelling in every direction around the country, so here is a set of links to the webpages of each of the States and Territories:
Check the entry restrictions for Western Australia, note maritime crew are not exempt:
Apply for a Good 2 Go pass to enter Western Australia:
Check the entry restrictions for Queensland:
Apply for a Queensland Border pass to enter Qld:
Note pass will not be issued to people who have been in hot spots including – Victoria, Campbelltown and Liverpool
Check the entry restrictions for NSW [from Victoria]:
Apply to enter New South Wales:
Check the entry restrictions for South Australia:
Apply for cross-border travel to SA:
Check the entry restrictions for Tasmania:
Apply to enter Tasmania using Good 2 Go pass, maritime crew exemptions apply:
Check the entry restrictions for Northern Territory:
Apply to enter NT:
Check the entry restrictions for Australian Capital Territory:
Apply to enter ACT [from Victoria]:
Check the restricted areas in Victoria [note Victorian borders are open but travel to Victoria is not recommended]:
Victorian COVID-19 spike - responses
(posted 13 07 20)
The recent dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria has led to a range of responses from the other States and Territories which are further complicating the process of Australian seafarers getting to and from their ships.
New South Wales has closed its border with Victoria and is now requiring returning NSW residents to self-isolate for 14 days when coming home from Victoria. There is an exemption for critical workers including transport and freight workers.
NSW Health has issued an exemption which covers people and crew on the Spirit of Tasmania ships who have just transited Victoria. Here is a copy of that exemption:
NSW_pho-exemption-border-control_09_07_20.pdf (247.00 KB Mon Jul 13 11:42:52 2020)
AIMPE has applied to the NSW Government to extend this exemption to the Toll and Searoad ships. Thanks to SPOT delegate Paddy Francis for bringing this up and pursuing it with NSW Health.
Queensland has re-opened its border with NSW but will not allow visitors from a COVID-19 hotspot. Currently the Queensland authorities regard the whole of Victoria as a COVID-19 hotspot. From 10 July 2020, people who have been in a hotspot in the last 14 days will only be able to enter Queensland if they are a returning Queensland resident or required to enter for a limited range of essential reasons. Queensland residents returning to Queensland from a hotspot must quarantine for 14 days on entering Queensland.
However, Queensland provides an exemption for Maritime crew:
“Despite paragraph 6, the following persons are not required to provide the Queensland Border Declaration Pass or undertaking:
- a person performing an essential activity related to national and state security, police, health or emergency services who enters Queensland to respond to an emergency; and
- maritime crew who are not required to complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass under the Protocol for Maritime Crew approved by the Chief Health Officer.”
Under the Queensland regulations Maritime crew includes anyone required to be part of a crew operating or providing services to support the operation of a commercial vessel, research vessel or government vessel in Australian waters but does not include cruise vessels, private vessels, super yachts or recreational vessels. Here is a copy of the latest Queensland Direction:
Qld__Border_restrictions_Direction_No_8.docx (30.56 KB Mon Jul 13 11:45:02 2020)
The Queensland Protocol for Maritime Crew states that maritime crew will not be required to quarantine unless they “have been in a COVID-19 hotspot”. Reports from some members indicate that this particular sub-clause is being interpreted inconsistently by Queeensland border officials. Some have allowed crew to proceed home other have been sent to quarantine. Here is a copy of the Queensland Protocol:
Protocol_for_maritime_crew_members_entering_or_departing_Queensland.docx (20.82 KB Mon Jul 13 11:46:30 2020)
Western Australia has never relaxed its 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone entering the State since first establishing it in April. People entering from Victoria are now required to observe all distancing and hygiene practices including wearing face mask during the 14-day quarantine period. It seems that the only other change in response to the Victorian spike has been a now mandatory test on the 11th day of the quarantine period. Here is the latest WA Direction:
WA__Maritime-Crew-Exemption-No-2-1.pdf (652.17 KB Mon Jul 13 11:48:05 2020)
South Australia has also closed its border with Victoria. However, persons employed in activities related to commercial freight services are exempt subject to certain conditions. Here is the latest SA Direction:
SA_Emergency-Management-Cross-Border-Travel-No-8-COVID-19-Direction-signed_1.pdf (3.37 MB Mon Jul 13 11:48:55 2020)
For Tasmania, the Victorian outbreak has meant that plans to relax restrictions have gone on the backburner and the 14-day self-isolation requirement will remain in force for the foreseeable future. The exemption from hotel quarantine for Tasmanian maritime personnel returning to Tasmania continues. The Tasmanian Direction for persons arriving in Tasmania [which was issued in July]has been removed because it has been superceded.
International arrivals into Melbourne Airport have been suspended due to the spike in cases although this lasts until 15th July and is subject to review. International arrivals into Australia’s other gateway airports have been restricted even further to reduce the numbers of people entering Australia and going into quarantine. This will make life more difficult again for New Zealanders who usually work in Australia. This is compounded by the fact that the State Governments are still insisting on the 14-day quarantine period for all overseas arrivals by air.
Then when travelling back home there is another quarantine requirement making life very difficult.
Here is the latest New Zealand Order for people travelling to NZ by air:
NZ_COVID19_Public_Health_Response_Air_Border_Order_2020.pdf (387.08 KB Mon Jul 13 12:07:15 2020)
New AMSA Marine Notice on
international crew changes
(posted 03 07 20)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has released a new Marine Notice dealing with the question of crew changes in Australia for international seafarers.
Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) Australia has responsibilities as the Port State to ensure compliance with the MLC by visiting foreign flag ships.
The MLC places a maximum period of 11 months for a seafarer to be required to work continuously on a ship. However during the COVID-19 pandemic this has been extended three times to 14 months. Now the ILO, IMO, Nautilus Federation, ITF and shipowner bodies have recognised that the internatinoal seafarers need to be given their overdue leave.
With this new Marine Notice, AMSA has put shipowners and operators on notice that they have to do everything practical to implement the crew changes.
Australia has nearly 30,000 ship visits per annum from over 5,000 separate ships. There are tens of thousands of foreign seafarers engaged on these ships so it is a massive problem.
The Australian Border Force, Department of Health and Department of Agriculture all have duties to protect Australia and its citizens from the pandemic and so the crew changes will have to be managed carefully in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols.
Of course flight availability is very difficult with international borders around the world closed. Some repatriation flights for seafarers and others have been arranged by some countries.
Here is the new Marine Notice:
marine-notice-202004.pdf (256.51 KB Fri Jul 3 09:43:40 2020)
AIMPE Annual General Meeting re-scheduled
AIMPE Federal Council re-scheduled
(posted 24 06 20)
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by State and Territory Governments around Australia, the Annual General Meeting which is usually held on the last Tuesday in May was postponed.
Following a ballot of Federal Councillors it has now been decided to re-schedule the 2020 AGM to be held on 29th September 2020. The AGM will be held in each of the Branches in the usual meeting locations - Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle. SA Branch will confirm arrangements for the holding of their AGM in Port Adelaide.
The annual Federal Council meeting is required to be held as soon as practical after the AGM. The 2020 Federal Council meeting was postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
It has also been decided to hold the annual Federal Council meeting on 20th to 22nd October 2020 subject to the relaxation of the travel restrictions by Governments around Australia.
AIMPE & AMOU submission on COVID-19
(posted 11 06 20)
With the COVID-19 related restrictions on all sorts of social activities being relaxed around Australia, thoughts are turning to the lessons that have been learned from the experience and what needs to be done coming out of the pandemic.
In the Australian Parliament there has been a Senate Select Committee into COVID-19. AIMPE and AMOU lodged a joint submission to the committee which reviewed the experience in the Australian maritime industry. The pandemic has highlighted the dependence that Australia has built up on foreign operators and their crews. Our submission concludes that there needs to be a policy to address this problem and attaches the “Maritime Australia” plan that was prepared after the 2019 Federal Election. The major recommendation of the “Maritime Australia” plan is the re-establishment of an Australian tanker fleet which would not only restore some fuel security transport capability but also provide a platform for training.
The submission can be found here:
AIMPE_AMOU_submission_to_Senate_Select_Committee_on_COVID_19__02_06_20_.pdf (214.00 KB Thu Jun 11 10:48:23 2020)
Nautilus Federation message
The international Nautilus Federation has released a message about the plight of international seafarers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. AIMPE's Federal Executive has endorsed the message along with about 20 other unions representing maritime professionals.