(updated 09 06 21)
Coastal Tanker campaign continues
The AIMPE campaign to change the mind of the Minister responsible for transport, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Michael McCormack continues. The latest stage in the campaign includes a speech by Mr Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal) and an article in The Australian newspaper on 8th June 2021.
Here is a copy of the article from The Australia:
The_Australian_8th_June_2021_page_6.pdf (395.88 KB Wed Jun 9 17:33:25 2021)
AIMPE Members take action on the Gladstone tugs
Gladstone Tug Engineers maintenance dispute
Media release 3rd Jun 2021
AIMPE has been seeking a new Enterprise Agreement with Smit Lamnalco for almost a year.
The negotiations have brought to a head a number of disputes that have been generated by local management interpretation of existing agreement conditions. AIMPE and members are attempting to rectify these anomalies, including maintenance of the tugs.
The central catalyst for the members taking protected industrial action has been the push by the company to exclude the Tug Engineers from the important maintenance function and to have tug maintenance carried out by shore personnel without the supervision of the Tug Engineers.
AIMPE Members have been frustrated by the changes being implemented by the company and see that the protected action is their only way to demonstrate their concerns.
The removal of the Tug Engineers from the supervision of mechanical maintenance has already been associated with mechanical breakdowns on the tugs.
This dispute is not about money.
Smit Lamnalco also propose to remove or reduce existing agreement entitlements including not maintaining essential safety qualifications for the specialised operation.
Shipping has increased in Gladstone and not decreased.
It is about the safe operation of the tugs which requires direct supervision of mechanical repairs by the Tug Engineers responsible for the operation of the tugs.
AIMPE has assured the Gladstone Port Corporation that the tugs will be available to attend to any port emergency and the Tug Engineers have remained onboard the tugs to ensure that they are ready to respond to any port emergency. Gladstone is an essential link in the global supply chain for minerals and energy exports.
A previous notice of protected action was withdrawn last month to enable further discussions to be held. The AIMPE attempted to negotiate as late into the evening of 31 May. A further stoppage has been notified to take place on 8th June 2021.
Meanwhile AIMPE met with Smit yesterday in a conference chaired by Fair Work Commission Deputy President Asbury to have more negotiations about the Enterprise Agreement for the Gladstone Tug Engineers.
Here is a copy of the DCN article on the Gladstone stoppage on 1st June:
And here is a copy of the News.com online coverage:
CQ_tug_workers_take_industrial_action_over_safety_issues.pdf (296.42 KB Tue Jun 8 10:42:00 2021)
Minister rejects Coastal Tanker proposal
The Minister responsible for transport, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has rejected the joint AIMPE/AMOU proposal for a coastal tanker fleet.
Mr McCormack has stuck to the same position that he has had since becoming the Minister responsible for transport saying that he will not support a strategic fleet.
His letter shows that he has disregarded all the arguments presented in our proposal including fuel security and workforce training.
Unlike most Ministers, Mr McCormack does not acknowledge the need to change his position in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has demonstrated some of the vulnerabilities of national economies.
Nor does Mr McCormack seem to be thinking about the changing strategic environment that Australia faces which may require a great deal more self-sufficiency to keep our economy ticking over.
This is deeply disappointing.
The Minister needs to change his mind or we need a new Minister.
The letter can be read in full here:
COVID-19 vaccination priority
The Nautilus Federation of Australia (NFA) has written to most of the State/Territory health authorities around Australia seeking priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine for maritime personnel.
Maritime personnel are at the international interface with arrivals from overseas. Unlike aviation most of the shipping arrivals (over 29,000 vessel arrivals into Australia per annum) are cargo ships and the interface is with crew rather than passengers. Nevertheless, Australian maritime personnel are working at an international interface.
NFA understands that some of the maritime personnel with the most direct interface have already been included in the first phase of the vaccination roll-out - priority 1a. These include Marine Pilots, AMSA Surveyors and ABF Marine Crews. There are other occupational groups which have direct interaction with crews on overseas ships after they arrive into Australian ports. These include Classification Society Surveyors, Ships Agents, Ship Repair contractors, Stevedoring personnel and others. It is not clear yet whether these will be included in 1a or 1b.
It is also extremely unclear whether the remainder of the broadly defined group of Australian maritime personnel will be offered access to vaccination in any position other than in accordance with their individual age cohort as the process enters subsequent phases of the roll-out. There is one jurisdiction which has extended the offer of access more broadly – WA has offered access in the 1a phase to a broader range of maritime personnel. This has been co-ordinated via the local port authorities liaising with maritime employers within their port area. Groups offered access have include tugboat crews, pilot boats crew and others.
For the full text of the NFA letter please use this link:
AIMPE calls for Federal Budget support
The AIMPE has written to the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Michael McCormack seeking his support for the establishment of an Australian coastal tanker fleet in this year's Federal Budget. As the Minister responsible for Transport among other things, Mr McCormack's support is vital if the proposal is to be included in the May 2021 Budget.
The proposal is one which AIMPE and AMOU have raised on a number of occasions over the last year or more. It is a proposal which we believe is practical and capable of implementation over a relatively short span of time. This proposal is also one which has attracted favourable comment from Industry participants and Departmental officials.
Our proposal is a tight, focussed proposal with the specific purpose of improving Australia’s fuel security as well as providing a platform for the training of the young maritime professionals of the future - which Australia so desperately needs.
The Federal Government has assisted the improvement of Australia’s energy security by implementing a new fuel storage policy for key strategic locations around Australia – but Australia currently lacks a home-grown capability to distribute petroleum fuel products from those key strategic locations to the many other smaller ports around the country.
Specifically we are seeking urgent support for this proposal and the inclusion of funding in the 2021-22 Budget to be handed down in May to implement the plan in three stages over the next three financial years.
The full text of the letter can be found here:
COVID-19 vaccination roll-out
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Western Australia has entered its second week and AIMPE member John Hartree received the jab at the Perth Children’s Hospital on Tuesday 2nd March.
Fremantle Port Authority has co-ordinated the offer of access to the first round to maritime workers in the FPA area. John grabbed the offer straight away. John works on the Svitzer tugs in Fremantle. Fremantle was the centre of attention in October 2020 when the Al Messilah livestock carrier arrived with a number of crew members suffering from the virus.
Above AIMPE member John Hartree receiving his vaccination on 2nd March.
Protecting his family from the possibility of infection is one of the main reasons that John took up the offer of the vaccine as soon as it was made available. "I don’t want to catch the virus down in the port and then take it home and infect my family” said John. “There is also the factor that I might be doing some inter-State travel in the future and it won’t hurt having had the vaccine” he said after receiving the jab.
John has stated that the process was quick and painless. “I hardly felt the needle go in nor the vaccine when it was injected.” After getting the jab the staff in the hospital clinic ask John to sit for about 15 minutes of quiet time. John suffered no ill-effects from the vaccination.
“I saw one of the other Fremantle Engineers go in as I left the hospital and then one of IRs too, but Svitzer have not made it mandatory – it’s up to the individual.”
The hospital staff advised that he will receive an email for his second jab in 3 weeks’ time.
The WA Health Department reported that more than 2,800 frontline workers received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the week ending 27th February.
Note: In January AIMPE and AMOU wrote a joint letter which went to the Prime Minister and all the State Premiers including the WA Premier Mr McGowan requesting that maritime personnel be recognised as a priority occupation to be granted access to the offer of a vaccination.
AIMPE Federal Council dates set for June
The AIMPE Federal Council meeting dates have been set for 15th, 16th & 17th June 2021. The Federal Executive met on 16th February and resolved to confirm the dates for the Federal Council and also to deal with all business held over from 2020.
AIMPE AGM set for 25th May
The AIMPE Annual General Meeting has been set for 25th May 2021. The Federal Executive met on 16th February and resolved to confirm the date for the AGM and also to deal with all business held over from 2020.
WA moves NSW and Queensland to ‘low risk’
Travel from NSW and Queensland will be permitted into WA, subject to the following Government conditions:
- self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premises
- present for a COVID-19 test on day 11
- complete a G2G Pass declaration, stipulating:
- undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival if arriving at Perth Airport;
- they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms;
- which jurisdictions the traveller has been in over the previous 14 days
- be prepared to take a COVID-19 test at the airport COVID clinic, if deemed necessary by a health clinician (voluntary asymptomatic testing available for all airport arrivals)
- undergo a health screening and have G2G Pass declaration checked at the border checkpoint if arriving by land before proceeding to self-quarantine premises
AIMPE & AMOU request vaccination priority for maritime personnel
(updated 22 01 20)
AIMPE and AMOU have written to the Prime Minister requesting that maritime personnel should be given priority for vaccinations.
This is not ahead of health workers or the aged of course, but AIMPE & AMOU have asked National Cabinet to agree that Australian maritime personnel are regarded as critical services personnel required for societal functioning for the purposes of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
AIMPE & AMOU have also asked the Prime Minister for clarification about whether Australians who have received the approved vaccination will be exempt from domestic travel quarantine requirements.
Joint_AIMPE__AMOU_letter_re_vaccination_priority_for_maritime_personnel_21_01_21.pdf (248.30 KB Fri Jan 22 16:46:24 2021)
The AIMPE & AMOU letter has been forwarded to all State Premiers and to the Chief Ministers in the Territories seeking their support during the National Cabinet meeting.
Under the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy vaccinations will not be mandatory. The AIMPE & AMOU request does not change the voluntary nature of the individual choice to have a vaccination.
WA Direction for Queenslanders
(updated 11 01 20)
The Western Australian Government Direction for people travelling from Queensland to WA provides very limited scope for exemptions:
Queensland_Outbreak_Response_Directions__WA_Govt_08_01_21.pdf (549.07 KB Mon Jan 11 12:29:41 2021)
The Direction specifically notes that personnel on a roster are not regarded as specialists for the purposes of the COVID-19 emergency. The only other grounds for exemptions are:
"compassionate grounds or on any other ground whatsoever"
This may sound fairly wide but the WA Police have not granted many exemptions to other areas [like NSW And Victoria] without strict conditions. Some companies have been required to provide detailed explanations of the measures that they have put in place to minimise the risk of infection including longer swings which reduce the number of movements of people into and out of WA. Quarantine measures are included for any traveller from a specified State or Territory with COVID-19 cases.
WA closes its border to Queensland
(updated 08 01 20)
The Western Australian Government has again reacted quickly to the latest outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the Greater Brisbane area and closed the WA border to people travelling from Queensland. This follows the decision of the Queensland Government to impose a lockdown on the south east region of the State including Brisbane, Logan, Moreton, Redlands, and Ipswich.
These actions are in response to a case in Brisbane where the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified.
The whole of the east coast of mainland Australia is now subject to WA's hard border closure.
Once again this will place great strain on members who live in the three eastern States and work in the West.
Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT have also declared the Greater Brisbane area to be a hot spot and restricted travel from the region.
New Year – new closures
(updated 04 01 21)
The 2021 New Year period has seen the further extension of border closures and travel restrictions in States and Territories around Australia.
Prior to Christmas WA closed its border to NSW as did Queensland after initially limiting the restrictions to Sydney with its Northern Beaches hotspot.
On New Year’s Eve WA closed its border with Victoria meaning any travellers from Victoria would join NSW travellers in having to go into 14 days isolation upon arrival into WA. This closure had a retrospective impact because it declared that the “relevant time” was 21st December.
On New Year’s Day SA closed its border with NSW. Like Queensland this followed an earlier restriction which was limited to the Sydney region.
Then Victoria closed its border to NSW on 2nd January – reversing the restrictions that had been in place when Victoria was in extended lock-down.
Tasmania has a variety of restrictions based on level of risk – low, medium or high. Low risk travellers can enter without quarantine, medium risk can enter but will be subject to quarantine or self-isolation. High risk travellers are not allowed to enter unless they have been granted an exemption.
The NT has added and removed locations from its hotspot list as circumstances have changed. From 1st January Greater Sydney is regarded as a hotspot by the NT. Travel restrictions apply including quarantine at traveller’s expense.
ACT has restricted travel from Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast since before Christmas.
These travel restrictions will again hamper AIMPE members travelling to and from work. As in 2020 AIMPE will do what can be done to assist members travelling to and from work.
Please contact your local AIMPE officials for assistance.
Global Seafarer - January 2021 edition
(uploaded 23 12 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 January 2021 edition of the Global Seafarer can be accessed here:
21.01_JAN_GlobalSeafarer.pdf (3.92 MB Wed Dec 23 14:53:36 2020)
WA closes the border to NSW - again
(updated 23 12 20)
The Western Australian Government has reacted quickly to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases on Sydney's northern beaches by reimposing 14 days quarantine restrictions on travellers entering WA from anywhere in NSW.
After a brief period where travel from NSW to WA was open, the situation has reverted to the previous very tight restricitons for members who live in NSW and work in WA.
The Sydney northern beaches outbreak also places the re-opening of travel with NZ in doubt.
Here's the revised directions issued on 19th December:
WA_191220-NSW-Outbreak-Response-Directions-No-3.pdf (2.42 MB Wed Dec 23 09:40:47 2020)
WA_191220-Controlled-Border-for-Western-Australia-Amendment-Directions-No-6.pdf (578.30 KB Wed Dec 23 09:51:57 2020)
Under the new Directions the WA Police are not issuing G2G passes to people in NSW.
It will be necessary for exemptions to be obtained before a G2G pass will be issued. There is no general exemption for maritime personnel in the new WA Directions. Each employer will need to make application for exemption. These will be handled on a case by case basis.
Farewell to the Aurora Australis
(posted 18 12 20)
Hobart farewelled the Aurora Australison 12th December - possibly for the final time.
Thanks to Tasport member Atilla Szoke for submitting this great photo - with crowds lining the wharf.
AIMPE and AMOU win exemption for Trident
(posted 09 11 20)
AIMPE and AMOU have won an exemption for members on the Trident LNG tankers from the latest quarantine requirements announced by the Tasmanian Government. At the same time as opening up travel from the Australian mainland States and Territories, the Tasmanian government announced restrictions on seafarers arriving in Tasmania from overseas ports. This was motivated by concerns about ships that have arrived in Australia in recent months with COVID-19 positive seafarers on board. Here is the letter to the Tasmanian State Controller:
Joint_AIMPE__AMOU_letter_seeking_exemption_for_Trident_LNG_Employees_30_11_20.pdf (195.39 KB Wed Dec 9 12:17:04 2020)
AIMPE had several discussions with the relevant officer in Tasmanian Police about our request for an exemption.
On 4th December he confirmed that the State Controller has made the decision regarding the request for an exemption from the new Tasmanian restrictions on people arriving into Tasmania after travelling overseas.
The 4 Tasmanian Trident LNG employees who signed off on 4th December were allowed to travel to Tasmania (the G2G passes were processed).
The group included 3 Engineers and 1 Master.
They were not subject to hotel quarantine on arrival in Tasmania.
They were required to quarantine at suitable premises - which means at home.
They were required to have a COVID-19 test after 24 hours and after 7 days. Assuming they are not COVID-positive, once test results are provided the isolation at home will end.
This decision applies for this particular crew change but does indicate that the Tasmanian officials recognise the efforts the Trident and everyone on the LNG tankers are making every day to avoid COVID-19.
SeaRoad Tamar interim replacement
(posted 04 12 20 updated 09 12 20)
SeaRoad Shipping will introduce a new charter vessel in March 2021 to provide increased capacity for freight across Bass Strait.
The $80 million investment over three years will see MV SEAROAD TAMAR replaced with the MV LIEKUT until SeaRoad’s new vessel is constructed.
Executive Chairman of SeaRoad, Chas Kelly, said the move reflected customer demand and would not only deliver more transport options for Tasmanian and mainland businesses, but also increase accessibility to Tasmania.
AIMPE Federal President, Martin Byrne, said that the move by SeaRoad is good news and shows a great deal of confidence in the Bass Strait trade. "This announcement confirming the replacement of the Searoad Tamar sees the departure of the last of the older generation of ships in the Bass Strait. The SeaRoad Board deserves congratulations for taking this step and AIMPE will be pleased to work with the company to assist in its smooth introduction into the service."
Further details including the ship's specifications can be found here:
SeaRoad_to_deliver_greater_capacity_with_new_charter_arrangement_-_3_December_2020_002.pdf (131.20 KB Fri Dec 4 11:45:59 2020)
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)