Government announces new Coastal Shipping consultation
(updated 14 10 19)
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has written to AIMPE, AMOU and other stakeholders advising that he has agreed to consult on options for reform of Australia’s coastal trading framework. The Minister’s letter indicates that he is seeking to identify practical solutions for the reform of Australia’s coastal shipping framework.
Mr McCormack has ruled out opening the coast – which is appreciated – but he has also precluded a strategic fleet or high cost subsidies. This set of parameters suggests that the range of options that will be considered is quite narrow.
The most encouraging words in the correspondence are that the Minister indicates that there are opportunities for reform. Exactly what these opportunities are remains to be seen but AIMPE will commence consultation with the Department as soon as possible to explore these opportunities.
The Government did not make any pre-election commitments regarding reform of the Australian coastal shipping industry – which means that it does not have any promises to keep. But the industry has provided plenty of evidence that there is a genuine workforce development problem because of the vastly reduced size of the coastal shipping industry. The shore-based maritime operations which have in the past relied on the coastal trading sector to produce experienced, skilled maritime personnel are crying out for a secure long-term source of supply. The current coastal shipping industry is not training at a rate which can sustain their own workforce needs let alone the additional demands of the shore-based operators. Australia needs more ships to train more maritime professionals.
Prior to the election AIMPE produced a 5-point plan for the future of the industry. AIMPE will explore whether the Government is prepared to consider any of these options. The employer group Maritime Industry Australia Ltd [MIAL] produced its own plan and it can safely be assumed that MIAL will pursue its plan with the Government.
It would be unwise for anyone to get their hopes up too high at this stage but, as the saying goes – ‘hope springs eternal’.
Subsequently, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has issued a broader circular which calls for submissions to be made by 30th October. Here is a link to the circular:
Where_to_from_here.pdf (181.64 KB Mon Oct 14 11:00:57 2019)
The time frame is very short for the conventional type of Government policy development process. This possibly indicates that the changes contemplated are modest and relatively limited. It is probably a reflection of a Government which came into office with a very limited agenda (it tax cuts) and it looking for quick decisions that can be made without delay.
AIMPE Federal Executive will be making a submission based on the earlier 5 point plan but recognising that some elements of the AIMPE 5-point plan were far-reaching, fundamental reforms which are almost certainly beyond the scope of the current process.
AIMPE Western Australian Union of Workers Special Meeting
(updated 21 08 19)
There will be a Special Meeting of the members of the AIMPE Western Australian Union of Workers to consider the future of the WA Union of Workers.
The Special Meeting will be held next Tuesday 27th August in Fremantle at the usual Branch monthly meeting venue.
A copy of the notice is below - this has also been sent by email to members in WA.
In years gone by the AIMPE WA Union of Workers provided coverage to members engaged in the power generation industry (e.g. SECWA) and in the health sector (e.g. Royal Perth Hospital).
Times have changed and AIMPE no longer has members in the WA power industry nor in the health sector.
WA referred most of its industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth and so the WA Industrial Relations Commission does not cover as many employees as it did years ago.
The WA IRC has advised AIMPE of concerns about the compliance record of the AIMPE WA Union of Workers.
Only WA members can decide on the future of the AIMPE WA Union of Workers.
The Special Meeting on Tuesday 27th August is your opportunity to have your say.
AIMPE rule changes - special meeting
(updated 24 05 19)
The AIMPE Federal Councillors have approved changes to six of the rules of the AIMPE - now it is up to members to endorse the rule changes.
Special meetings will be held next Tuesday 28th May in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle at the usual Branch monthly meeting venues.
The meeting in Port Adelaide will be held on 30th May in conjunction with the monthly meeting previously advised to SA Branch members.
Some of the Rule changes are priority matters because AIMPE has been asked to address shortcomings by the Australian Electoral Commission. Others have become necessary as some rules have simply become out of date.
Members are advised that the AIMPE Federal Councillors did not approve one of the proposed rule changes (Proposed Rule Change 2).
Here is the explanation that was provided to the Federal Councillors in March when they were given the required 2 months notice of the proposed changes:
Notice_of_proposed_Rule_changes_2019.pdf (98.01 KB Fri May 24 09:58:24 2019)
The first rule change approved is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_1_re_33A_i_and_ii.pdf (81.11 KB Fri May 24 10:01:14 2019)
The second rule change approved by Federal Councillors is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_3_re_Rule_12.pdf (77.95 KB Fri May 24 10:02:05 2019)
The third rule change approved by Federal Councillors is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_4_re_Rule_9.pdf (78.19 KB Fri May 24 10:02:55 2019)
The fourth rule change approved by Federal Councillors is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_5_re_Rule_15.pdf (76.07 KB Fri May 24 10:03:52 2019)
The fifth rule change approved by Federal Councillors is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_6_re_Rule_30.pdf (75.24 KB Fri May 24 10:04:37 2019)
The sixth rule change approved by Federal Councillors is below:
Approved_RULE_CHANGE_7__re_Rule_40.pdf (73.43 KB Fri May 24 10:06:03 2019)
How to help promote the Maritime Australia plan
One way to help decide w ho to vote for is to take the AIMPE's Maritime Australia plan to your local candidates and ask whether they will support the plan and help turn the maritime industry around. Here is a link to the Maritime Australia booklet:
Its a 5 point plan to help turn the industry around after decades of decline.
Listed below are the details for all of the candidates in the 2019 Federal Election - as published by the Australian Electoral Commission. For ease of searching the AEC list has been separated into State and Territory order. The AEC list includes [for most candidates] their mobile phone numbers and email addresses.Contact your local candidate and ask for an appointment. Go and see them. Speak with them. Find out what they know about the Australian maritime industry. Ask them what their views are about the current state of the Australian maritime industry. Most importantly ask them if they will support the plan if they are elected to Parliament.
Call AIMPE’s Director of Government Relations Mr Michael Bakhaazi if you need a hand or want to assist – 0401 431 166 or email on email@example.com. Let him know how you go with your discussions with your local candidates.
AIMPE Submission to Senate Inquiry
On 19th March AIMPE filed a submission with the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee Inquiry into the policy, regulatory, taxation, administrative and funding priorities for Australian shipping.
The submission calls for the strengthening of Australia’s cabotage with specific recommendations for:
- The establishment of a new Maritime Development Agency to promote the growth of the Australian maritime industry;
- The introduction of taxation concessions at least equivalent to Singapore;
- The requirement for all participating companies to undertake ongoing training on all vessels;
- The amendment of the Shipping Registration Act to require all vessels operating in Australia to be registered in Australia; and
- The ATSB to become the single national marine incident investigator.
The submission can be downloaded here:
Global Seafarer -February 2019 edition
(uploaded 14 03 19)
Global Seafarer is the digital newspaper of the Nautilus Federation - the international group formed by maritime officers unions including AIMPE. The newspaper contains plenty of information on maritime developments around the world. The February 2019 edition of the Global Seafarer can be accessed here:
TOLL's new ships
(uploaded 08 03 19)
Toll Shipping has introduced two new purpose-built ro-ro ships for the Bass Strait trade in recent weeks. This is a terrific vote of confidence in the Tasmanian trade and a wonderful boost to the Australian maritime industry.
The Tasmanian Achiever II was welcomed by a cheering crowd of around 1,000 people at the naming ceremony in Burnie on Sunday 17th February.
In a sign of the political significance of the ceremony, Prime Minister Hon Scott Morrison and Tasmanian Premier Hon Will Hodgman were both in attendance for the naming together with senior representatives of the owners of Toll – Japan Post.
Left: AIMPE members on Tasmanian Achiever II on naming day - Mani Silva 2/E, Josh Azzopardi 3/E, C/E Adam Hanson and 1/E Adam Oxley.
The Victorian Reliance II was officially named in Port Melbourne on Sunday 24th February.
Above: AIMPE members on Victorian Reliance II on naming day - Kepler Hanson 3/E, Jason Martin Project Eng, Ive Mardesic 1/E, David Stoppa C/E and Paul Atwell 2/E.
Federal Opposition Leader Hon Bill Shorten was the guest of honour.
The twin ships commenced operations on 1st March.
Above: Tasmanian Achiever II alongside in Burnie ahead of the naming day ceremony on 17th February.
Right: Victorian Reliance II in Port Melbourne prior to naming day.
Toll and Japan Post have shown great faith in the future of the Bass Strait trade by making the over $170 million investment in the Tasmanian Achiever II and sister ship Victorian Reliance II.
Almost $140 million has also been invested in upgrading the shore-side infrastructure to accommodate the larger ships and maximise the greater loading capability.
Hearty congratulations are due to Toll and Japan Post for this enormous commitment to the future.
BHP abandons ship
(posted 17 01 19)
Joint Media release - AIMPE & AMOU
The company once known as The Big Australian has abandoned the last vestiges of its commitment to the Australian shipping industry.
BHP on 10th January 2019 advised the maritime unions that it is dumping the last two Australian-crewed ships that carry iron ore from Port Hedland in Western Australia to the steelworks in Port Kembla - Mariloula and Lowlands Brilliance.
Mariloula at anchor off Hong Kong 16 January 2019
The 70+ Australian officers and seafarers will all lose their jobs but BHP will use foreign crews on foreign ships to carry the same product between the same ports.
On board Mariloula Glen Anderson(AMOU) Alexey Condratov C/E, Nick McKenna 3/E, Sam Littlewood AIMPE and Ramkumar Sivanandam 1/E.
The engineers’ and officers’ unions (AIMPE and AMOU) have condemned the move and called on the Federal Government to intervene to reverse this attempt to further abandon Australian shipping and Australian seafarers.
See the AIMPE letter to Deputy PM Mr. Michael McCormack:
The Federal Government’s temporary licence scheme makes it easy for BHP and BlueScope to abandon Australian shipping in favour of foreign crewed ships.
The Australian crews on the two ships agreed to a pay freeze from 8th October 2014 specifically to help the steelworks return to profitability.
BHP reported that its Iron Ore division made AUD$12 Billion in profits in 2017-18.
BlueScope Steel reported that its profits were AUD$1.5 Billion in 2017-18.
These companies have no financial reason to return these ships and dump these 70 mariners on the beach.
No Australian Government should be allowing this betrayal of qualified officers and engineers to happen under its watch.
Martin Byrne AIMPE & Mark Davis AMOU
LNG Tankers retained
The Arbitrator for the North West Shelf COA issued an interim decision on 10th December which should ensure that the employment of Australian seafarers on the 4 LNG Tankers is able to continue for another 5 years. The NWSSSCo gave notice in 2017 that it intended to commence to reduce the fleet from 2019 because the reserves of gas controlled by the NWS Joint Venture partners are declining. Since then AIMPE and the other unions have been working to ensure that if the fleet is reduced then Australian crews should be employed until it gets down to the last four ships.
The recent decision comes after an Arbitration hearing in Sydney on 7th December where AIMPE and AMOU made joint submissions in support of the dispute filed by the CFMMEU.
The outcome was a great Christmas present for all of the Australian seafarers employed on the gas buggies.
With one Australian flag tanker due to depart in 2019 it will now be necessary for a quarter of the Trident employees to transfer to another tanker. This will be the subject of further discussions. The AIMPE Federal Executive has authorised all continuing efforts to retain the maximum Australian employment for the greatest possible length of time.
Above: Northwest Stormpetrel at anchor off Singapore, October 2018.
During the Christmas New Year period AIMPE officials visited the LNG Tankers Northwest Sandpiper and the Northwest Stormpetrel to report back directly to the members affected about the outcomes of the decision of the Arbitrator. The feedback received was very positive – members are pleased to have the opportunity to continue working on the gas buggies until 2024.
Left: Northwest Sandpiper members Ross Shilton 3/E, Tim Hardy C/E, Mick Lonergan 1/E and Martin Byrne, AIMPE.
Further discussions with the NWSSSCo were held on 16th January following the direction of the Arbitrator.
Northwest Stormpetrel is due to be withdrawn by June 2019 and the crews transferred to Northwest Seaeagle or Northwest Shearwater.
Trident LNG is concerned about the possible lack of qualified Deck and Engineer officers over the next few years.
AIMPE has responded that there are very many experienced and qualified engineers who have been made redundant over the last 5 years who could be re-employed with a little investment in training.
Peter Toohey re-appointed to AMSA Board
(posted 29 11 18)
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Mr Michael McCormack has re-appointed AIMPE's Peter Toohey to the AMSA Board. The appointment is for three years and is a second term for Peter on the AMSA Board. Congratulations to Peter on his re-appointment.
The Minister's media release highlighted that:
Mr Toohey brings considerable experience of maritime salvage operations and is currently Chief Engineer of Brisbane Tugs for Svitzer Australia and Secretary of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said AMSA performed a critical role protecting the nation’s marine environment while supporting safe navigation and marine safety.
Mr McCormack said AMSA also provides a national search and rescue service, and represents Australia at the International Maritime Organization.
“The appointments of Dr Rosalie Balkin AO and Mr Tony Briggs, as well as the reappointment of Mr Peter Toohey, will ensure the AMSA Board has the knowledge, skills and experience to support its ongoing successful management of strategic maritime priorities,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack said Mr Briggs and Mr Toohey both bring substantial experience across different sectors of Australia’s domestic commercial vessel industries, which is an important advancement for the AMSA Board which is now solely responsible for regulating the safety of such vessels.
He said having also held various academic posts, Dr Balkin will bring considerable knowledge to the AMSA Board of several areas of the law, including maritime law.
“I am sure Dr Balkin, Mr Briggs and Mr Toohey will provide invaluable contributions to the AMSA Board throughout their three-year terms, helping maintain Australia’s maritime safety and environmental protection capabilities in line with international best practice,” Mr McCormack said.
AMSA Chair Stuart Richey AM said he is delighted to welcome Dr Balkin and Mr Briggs to the AMSA Board and Mr Toohey’s return.
“These appointments add to the Board’s capabilities with significant expertise in maritime law and the operation of domestic commercial vessels to support our priorities such as the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety,” he said.
“I look forward to working together to ensure AMSA continues to be well positioned into the future to deliver our longstanding mission to ensure safe vessel operations, combat marine pollution and rescue people in distress.”
Automation study by World Maritime University
(posted 15 10 18)
The Seafarers Section Conference of the ITF Congress on 15th October received a briefing on automation from two representatives of the World Maritime University [an IMO backed institution in Malmo, Sweden].
A copy of the report is attached.
This is not a report from a technology company seeking to publicise its latest product development.
It is a level headed analysis of what actually might happen and the time frame over which it may take place.
In short WMU is forecasting that it will take a very long time to before there are significant numbers of highly automated ships.
WMU also argue that high skilled positions such as Ship Engineers are the least likely to be displaced by automation.
However the WMU also postulate that the first sectors which are likely to introduce highly automated ships are in high cost countries [because the ship owners are likely to have the greatest potential economic benefit].
A copy of the paper can be accessed via the following link:
World_Maritime_University_Automation_paper.pdf (1.21 MB Mon Oct 15 17:21:38 2018)
AIMPE presents Cabotage Report to Bill Shorten MP
(posted 10 10 18)
(left to right - Bill Shorten MP, Martin Byrne, Ian McAllister and Michael Bakhaazi)
Federal Opposition Leader Mr Bill Shorten attended the AIMPE Federal Executive meeting in Melbourne on 9th October.
The discussion centred on the urgent need for strengthening of Australia’s cabotage laws.
AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne presented a copy of the ITF/SRI Cabotage Report to Bill Shorten.
AIMPE welcomes Global Report on Cabotage
(posted 26 09 18)
AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne has welcomed the release of a new independent report on cabotage laws in countries around the world.
The report was commissioned by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and was conducted by the research organisation Seafarers Rights International.
“AIMPE has opposed the watering down of Australia’s cabotage laws by the Federal Government and has instead called for a strengthening of cabotage in Australia” said Mr Byrne.
“Over the last 6 years Australia has seen the complete demise of our coastal tanker fleet and a further contraction in Australian flag dry bulk ships. Australia now has only 10 Australian flag ships over 2,000 dwt operating with a General Licence under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012."
"Australia needs to take urgent steps to correct this alarming development.”
“AIMPE proposes that the Shipping Registration Act 1981 should be amended so that any vessel which is continuously operated in Australian waters should be required to be registered in Australia. This would close the current loophole which allows the withdrawal of Australian ships and the introduction of continuously operating foreign flag ships with foreign crews under unlimited repeat temporary licences.”
"AIMPE and the AMOU, under the banner of the Nautilus Federation of Australia, have agreed to campaign in support of strenthening Australia's cabotage regime and will be working together on this issue over coming months."
Cabotage Laws of the World key findings:
- • Cabotage is “widespread”, with cabotage laws existing in 91 countries representing 80% of the
world’s coastlines of UN Maritime States.
- • Cabotage exists across all political, economic and legal systems.
- • Cabotage policy objectives are diverse, designed to: maintain national security, promote fair
competition, develop human capacity, create jobs, promote the shipping industry, promote
safety and security of ships in port, enhance marine environmental protection and/or preserve
maritime knowledge and technology.
- • Cabotage laws are diverse with a range of approaches taken by different countries regarding
virtually every aspect of cabotage, with great diversity in the interpretation, administration and
enforcement of cabotage.
- • Cabotage laws have endured for centuries, but continue to evolve.
- • Cabotage is not subject to a single definition accepted as binding on all states under
international law. Regional and national definitions of cabotage vary widely.
A full copy of the report is available here: https://seafarersrights.org/seafarers-subjects/cabotage/
Nautilus Federation of Australia
(posted 03 07 18)
The Nautilus Federation of Australia has taken another step forward as senior officials of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers and the Australian Maritime Officers Union met in AIMPE offices in Melbourne on Monday 25th June.
Nautilus Federation of Australia Operations Committee - from left to right:
AMOU President Capt Tim Higgs;
AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne;
AIMPE Federal Treasurer Ian McAllister; and
AMOU Executive Director Mark Davis.
Top on the list of matters for discussion is office sharing for the two unions’ operations around Australia.
The officials have set target dates for relocations in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle which will see both unions operating from the same address in each of these three ports.
The moves will provide cost savings for both unions and is also intended to provide for closer integration of working relations between the two officer unions.
A revised Memorandum of Understanding was signed by AMOU President, Capt. Tim Higgs and AIMPE Federal President Mr. Martin Byrne which deals with the relocations and with possible further co-location arrangements in Brisbane, Newcastle and other ports.
The Nautilus Federation of Australia has also discussed opportunities for joint campaigning on key issues relating to the interests of Australian Deck and Engineer Officers.
Sharing space in the WA union rooms.
The AMOU in Western Australia is refurbishing its Fremantle premises. Whilst this occurs the AMOU will share the Institute's Stock Road Palmyra premises; beginning on Monday 26 March for expected duration of five weeks.
Our island nation must right the ship on sea power
Josh Wilson - Federal Labor member for Fremantle; read the story here: Shipping Josh Wilson (10.31 KB)
DOF Labour agreement rejected by AIMPE & AMOU
AIMPE objects to DOF proposed labour agreement. View objection here: AIMPE objection to DOF proposal (482.53 KB)
and view Dynamic Positioning Training here: DP Training course (810.59 KB)
AMOU rejection can be viewed here: AMOU respond to DOF Labour proposal (869.41 KB)
Nautilus Federation Report
- questions safety of Autonomous Shipping.
Read the report here:
future_proofed.pdf (5.74 MB)
Toxic chemical linked to Navy veteran's Parkinson's now posing danger to some Australian suburbs
Keith Bailey spent 36 years in the Australian Navy and rose to the rank of commander, but his service to the country came at great personal cost.
The Navy has conceded it left him with Parkinson's disease as a result of exposure to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE.
"When I joined the Navy in '67 I didn't have Parkinson's, and when I left in 2003 I did have Parkinson's," Mr Bailey said.
"So whatever it was that caused Parkinson's happened on their watch."
In 2016 the Department of Veterans' Affairs formally recognised exposure to TCE as a cause of Parkinson's.
Mr Bailey believed he was the first Australian veteran to have such a claim approved.
"If you had 2,000 hours' exposure to trichloroethylene, there was a reasonable hypothesis that your Parkinson's was caused by trichloroethylene," he said.
Mr Bailey said TCE was in an ingredient in a metal cleaner called Turco Solv, which he used on ships to clean motor parts.
"The workshop was down a few decks, so it was enclosed," he said.
"When you stripped a motor you got it all over your overalls. You'd be working 10- to 12-hour days.
"When you finished your day you had the grease all over you. You'd wash yourself down in Turco Solv, so you'd use it to get the grease off your body as well."
Diamond Offshore, BHP & EXPRO have a run-in with NOPSEMA.
The following from the Weekend West Australian 20-21 Jan 2018
We should all be relieved Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Monarch drilling rigabout 9km off City Beach is between jobs.
The offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has come down hard on Diamond Offshore for venting gas to areas where it put workers at risk while working to abandon wells at BHP’s Griffin oil field mid last year.
After the first occurrence in June, “no actions were taken to stop work and re-assess the risk”, and the dangerous venting was repeated during at least three more well abandonments. Diamond did make some changes to the equipment after the first well, but there was “inadequate management of modifications of safety critical equipment”.
EXPRO, which handled the well fluid for BHP, was also bought to task. BHP, which was in control, did not escape the regulator’s wrath. Its people also failed to stop the work and, after finding deficiencies in the testing of EXPRO’s equipment, did nothing about it.
Diamond and EXPRO were issued improvement notices by NOPSEMA last month after the regulator finished its inquiries.
BHP senior management has to front up and explain to NOPSEMA how they have changed their ways.
The Bull understands the Ocean Monarch will be towed away next month for work in the Bass Strait for Cooper Energy. Let’s hope all is safe this time.
HUNTER TAFE REMOVES COURSES WITHOUT CONSULTATION
It has been brought to AIMPE's attention that Hunter TAFE has pulled down Marine Engineering courses from its website, without so much as a courtesy call to your Institute to explain why.
Disturbingly, only Deck Officer Training remains.
Your AIMPE understands the courses are still being run but, inexplicably, all advertising has been removed.
Please find below, links to AIMPE's own copies of these removed Marine Engineering courses: