(updated 03 07 20)
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.
There have been three extensions to the maximum period of duty on board ships since the COVID-19 crisis began. Under the Maritime Labour Convention the maximum period of duty is eleven months. It has been estimated that up to 150,000 seafarers have been impacted by the restrictions on crew changes around the world. There are now seafarers who have completed up to fourteen months on their ship.
The international Nautilus Federation is calling for all governments around the world to take action to facilitate the crew changes necessary to alleviate this appalling situation.
Here is the message:
NFed_MsgToMarProf_27MAY20.pdf (483.46 KB Fri Jun 12 10:45:45 2020)
Patrol Boat construction update
(posted 19 05 20)
The Australian Government shipbuilding project has reached a significant milestone with the completion of the main structure of the first of the series of new patrol boats. The modules comprising the first vessel hav been put together in Adelaide recently.
A video is now available online:
Tasmanian Government exemption update
(posted 18 05 20)
The Tasmanian Government has issued a new information sheet which clarifies the exemption that has been granted for maritime crew.
The key provisions for AIMPE members are:
Fly-in, Fly-out workers
If you are a Tasmanian resident returning to Tasmania for a period of leave from work interstate, you may quarantine at your residence as per the above conditions for “Tasmanian residents”.
If you are required to leave Tasmania to return to work before the end of your 14 day quarantine period, you may do so, but must:
• Transit directly from your primary residence to the port of departure; and
• Maintain hand hygiene and physical distancing during transit.
If you are travelling to Tasmania for work, you may be exempt from completing a period of quarantine as a Specified Person (Essential Traveller)
Here is the full document released on 17th May:
Tasmanian-border-restrictions_17_05_20.pdf (71.80 KB Mon May 18 16:10:50 2020)
Tasmanian Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 06 05 20)
The Tasmanian Government has finally implemented the National Cabinet decision of 9th April and will now allow returning seafarers to go home - rather than spend 14 days in hotel isolation.
Tasmania was the first State government to close its borders and impose 14 days compulsory hotel isolation on all persons travelling to Tasmania. These restrictions are still in force. But the class exemption for non-cruise seafarers has been implemented effective from Midnight on 5th May 2020.
AIMPE has been lobbying for the class exemption to be applied in Tasmania every week since the National Cabinet decision on 9th April.
It has taken 4 long weeks but the exemption is now in place.
This should be a great relief to Tasmanian members who have had to be separated from their families for this extra two week period.
The decisions also clears up the position of members who work on gthe Aurora Australis and the Investigator. These seafarers will also be exempt from the 14 days hotel isolation requirement both when coming into Tasmania to join their vessel and when swinging off to go home. Again this will be a great relief for all concerned.
Here are the details of the Tasmanian Government decision:
V1.4_TasGov_COVID19_Factsheet__Class_Exemptions_Maritime_Workers_D002.pdf (82.36 KB Wed May 6 09:08:12 2020)
Supporting the seafarers onboard Ruby Princess.
(posted 16 04 20)
When Svitzer Port Kembla Tug Engineer Steve Krinks became aware of the community interest in supporting the crew onboard the Ruby Princess (pictured below docking in Port Kembla) he very quickly joined the organising group through the Mission to Seafarers in Port Kembla. Through the Seafarers Mission, Facebook and Steve’s local community in the Illawarra he has again shown us all how community minded he is and willing to throw his time and effort behind a great cause.
Just like during the recent bushfires, Steve generated local interest in the charitable venture and organised deliveries and donations whether by driving around to pick up if needed or taking deliveries at his home and helping to pack into boxes at the mission. This was no small task as the final delivery amount to 12 pallets of goods.
Below: Steve Krinks at the Mission to Seafarers in Port Kembla
A care package has been delivered for each of the thousand plus crew member including such things as Sanitary items, food, Snacks, Easter eggs and along with a message from people of the Illawarra.
The idea and collection involved a number of people and resulted in over $100,000 in donations and the 12 Pallets of items delivered to the ship Tuesday 14th April.
This was an amazing turn around with the ship only berthing in PK a week earlier.
Well done to Steve and all the people who organised and donated. The maritime camaraderie and local Illawarra generosity really standing strong for these stranded maritime workers.
Health Department exemptions factsheet
(posted 15 04 20)
The Australian Department of Health has issued a new exemptions factsheet for international arrivals into Australia.
Maritime crew are included in this exemptions factsheet.
The main provisions are as follows:
Maritime crew (excluding cruise ships)
Are not required to undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine on arrival into
Australia. They are therefore not required to complete the Isolation Declaration Card.
Must proceed directly to the vessel on arrival.
If access to the vessel is not immediate, crew must self-isolate at their
accommodation during any lay-over period.
May travel domestically and/or take a domestic flight to meet their vessel at the next
point of departure if required.
At the completion of their shifts, they are not required to go into mandatory 14 days
quarantine, but must undertake 14 days self-isolation.
Time at sea counts towards the 14 days of self-isolation if no illness has been
reported on-board. Therefore crew signing off commercial vessels that have spent
greater than 14 days at sea, with no know illness on-board, do not need to self-isolate
The full details of the fact sheet are available here:
coronavirus-covid-19-exemptions-to-the-14-day-mandatory-quarantine-period_0.pdf (509.22 KB Wed Apr 15 10:26:37 2020)
As at 15th April the State and Territory Government rules have not been altered to reflect the National Cabinet decision of 9th April.
So members may be required to comply with the pre-existing State and Territory quarantine/isolation rules until those State and Teritory rules are revised.
AIMPE has pressed for those rules to be revised as soon as possible.
Revised Health factsheet for Marine Industry
(posted 14 04 20)
The Australian Health Department has issued a revised factsheet for the marine industry.
coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-marine-industry_0-1.pdf (595.67 KB Tue Apr 14 18:11:44 2020)
This latest factsheet comes before the State and Territory Governments have implemented the changes agreed by the National Cabinet on 9th April.
Because of the Easter break those changes have not yet implemented.
This means that the State and Territory Government isolation periods are still applicable.
Details of National Cabinet decision on (non-cruise) maritime crews
(posted 11 04 20)
The details of the National Cabinet decision taken on Thursday 9th April for non-cruise maritime crew have been released.
This should help to clarify matters for members in all sectors.
Each State and Territory will need to implement the decision by publishing new Directions or regulations.
Once this is done everything should be clear and consistent around Australia and almost all members should be able to continue to work on their vessels subject to the COVID-19 precautions.
Here is the detail of the National Cabinet decision:
National_Cabinet_-_agreed_class_exemption_for_non-cruise_maritime_crew.pdf (116.87 KB Sat Apr 11 10:16:36 2020)
Maritime crew members who are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 infection, have not been in contact with anyone with symptoms, are not awaiting COVID-19 test results and have not had a positive COVID-19 test should be able to transit to and from their vessel without being required to observe quarantine/isolation periods.
National Cabinet decision on (non-cruise) maritime crews
(posted 09 04 20)
The National Cabinet met again on Thursday 9th April and decided that all jurisidictions will implement a consistent and immediate exemption for non-cruise maritime crew to travel to and from their ships.
It will still take some days before we begin to see how this "consistent and immediate exemption" will be implemented.
The WA rules of course specify that anyone with any adverse COVID-19 related health indicators will not be admitted – this is unlikely to change at all and we would not want that.
Here is an extract from the Prime Minister's statment following the National Cabinet:
Updated quarantine arrangements for non-cruise maritime and air crew
Australia’s skilled maritime workforce plays a unique and strategically important role in Australia’s supply chains.
National Cabinet agreed that the Australian Government and all states and territories will implement a consistent and immediate exemption for non-cruise maritime crew to provide for the transiting to and from their places of work, within and across jurisdictions with agreed documentation.
National Cabinet noted that states and territories may adopt additional protocols in consultation with industry that creates protection for crews on board vessels, and will put in place appropriate penalties for companies and individuals that are found to be in breach of the requirements of the exemption which will be reviewed on 1 June 2020.
The Australian Border Force, in consultation with the Commonwealth Department of Health, will continue to manage the safe movement of maritime crew.
Ahead of the National Cabinet meeting, AIMPE wrote to the Prime Minister, State Premiers and NT Chief Minister seeking that the National Cabinet amend the regulations for maritime crew so that they are able to return home to self-isolate rather than be required to go into quarantine when they have to travel interstate to return home:
AIMPE_letter_to_PM_National_Cabinet_08_04_20.pdf (128.56 KB Thu Apr 9 18:19:32 2020)
WA issues new Maritime Crew exemption
(posted 09 04 20)
The WA Government has issued another new Direction.
This is a Maritime Crew exemption under clause 27(r) of the 'Close the Borders' direction issued on 5th April (see previous post - below).
Here is the new Maritime Crew exemption:
WA_20200408_Maritime_Crew_Class_Exemption.pdf (2.29 MB Thu Apr 9 11:51:59 2020)
It now appears that maritime crew will be able to travel to WA without individual prior approval but will have to spend 14 days in a ‘crew hotel’.
AIMPE is seeking confirmation about whether the form issued a few days ago will be amended - because the current wording is not consistent with the terms of the new Direction giving the Maritime Crew exemption.
A crew hotel is one arranged by the employer and approved by the Police Commissioner.
Those swinging off a ship which has been overseas will have the time at sea counted as part of the 14 days isolation required for anyone entering WA.
Maritime Crew will need to comply with conditions set down by the Police.
New WA exemption form
(posted 08 04 20)
The WA Government has issued a new form for those seeking exemption from the WA travel restrictions introduced effective from midnight on 5th April 2020.
It seems that the negative media exposure generated by the COVID-19 problems on the cruise ships including Ruby Princess and Artania among many others has led to the decision by the WA Government to make it even more difficult for non-WA maritime crew to enter WA to work.
AIMPE has raised these problems with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Mr Michael McCormack. AIMPE has also raised the problems with WA Government officials.
So too has the AMOU and other maritime organisations.
We are still trying to facilitate members travelling to their ships to work and back to their homes for their leave (and where they can self-isolate).
In the meantime it seems that members who need to travel to WA to work will have to complete this form:
WA.gov_.au_borderclosures_FORM_050420_.pdf (133.95 KB Wed Apr 8 10:57:09 2020)
The form provides a section for "People who cannot enter WA without receiving prior approval". This is section B2.
This means the form must be completed, submitted and approval received before you commence travel.
You should include the following information when completing the form:
- Name of vessel that you intend to work on
- Port where you intend to join the vessel
- Employer name - and attach support letter from employer if available
- Position which you intend to work in
- Certificate of Competency - Certificate number, capacity/class and expiry date
- MSIC - number and expiry
NOPSEMA Safety Alert re swings and roster changes
(posted 08 04 20)
The Offshore Oil & Gas Industry health and safety regulator, NOPSEMA has issued a Safety Alert relating to proposals circulating in the industry for changes to rosters and swing systems.
Here is the Safety Alert:
NOPSEMA_COVID_19_Alert_April_2020__A724699.pdf (150.10 KB Wed Apr 8 12:46:15 2020)
The Safety Alert does not prohibit changes to rosters but provides the following observations:
AIMPE is advising Offshore members not to agree to roster changes without full consultation.
Updated WA Government
'Closing the Borders' Directions
(posted 05 04 20)
The WA Government has issued new Directions effective from midnight on 5th April 2020 to implement the announcement that they are tightening their borders.
Under the new Directions, maritime crews will be regarded as “exempt travellers”.
This will require an application to be made to the WA Police Commissioner.
AIMPE and AMOU have been speaking with the relevant people from the WA Government about these matters.
We have also been in touch with various employers.
The intention is that a general exemption for maritime personnel employed by a number of companies in a range of job classifications will be issued.
All relevant companies will be on the list of maritime employers and all shipboard job classifications will be covered.
The exemption will probably contain a number of conditions.
These could include a requirement for maritime crew to proceed directly to and from their vessel when joining and leaving.
It is important to note that even in relation to “exempt travellers”, no-one will be allowed to enter WA if they are Covid-19 positive, are awaiting Covid-19 test results, have had contact with a Covid-19 positive person or has symptoms of Covid-19.
These restrictions are intended by the WA Government to keep WA residents safe.
They will also have the effect of protecting those on board who are not swinging off the ship.
Here is a copy of the new Directions:
WA_Quarantine_Closing_the_Border_Directions_05_04_20.pdf (696.10 KB Sun Apr 5 16:04:38 2020)
Australian Border Force
(posted 03 04 20)
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has issued a new notice clarifying the restrictions on maritime personnel:
20200401-ABF-Maritime-Advice-01-April-2020.pdf (478.30 KB Fri Apr 3 11:25:05 2020)
The jurisdiction of the ABF relates to Australia's national borders and the ABF directions apply to people arriving from outside Australia.
These directions do not apply to domestic travel within Australia.
Covid-19 - Health Department update for Marine Industry
(posted 31 03 20)
The Australian Department of Health has published another update for the marine industry.
The update confirms that the Federal Government does not require ships crews to undergo 14 days self-isolation when they are joining a ship.
Here is the update:
coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-marine-industry_1.pdf (240.86 KB Tue Mar 31 17:51:57 2020)
Here is the link to the Department of Health website:
Coping with Covid and Isolation
(posted 30 03 20)
Nautilus International have sent to AIMPE a useful video for those who are coping with the isolation imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic - and the restrictions imposed by Governments all around the world to stop the spread of the disease.
We thought you may be interested to see the video at the link below, from Nautilus 24/7 provider ISWAN.
The YouTube video details mental health coping strategies for seafarers who are affected by coronavirus in one way or another.
Australian Border Force
Additional exemptions as Determined by the Commissioner
(posted 28 03 20)
The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider an additional exemption in relation to the travel restrictions currently in place for:
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
- Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
- Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
- Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family
- Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.
Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:
- Passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
- Case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
- Supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.
It is important that all travellers provide evidence to us that they meet one of the exemptions above before travelling. For example if are an immediate family member holding a temporary visa you will need to provide us with evidence of your relationship.
AEC Postpones all industrial elections for three months
(posted 26 03 20)
The Australian Electoral Commission has postponed all industrial elections for three months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The AEC notice can be found here:
Letter_to_registered_organisations_-_COVID-19_response_-_Industrial_elections.pdf (207.85 KB Fri Mar 27 13:26:06 2020)
Domestic arrivals forms for maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 26 03 20)
Members who have to travel interstate for work will have to complete arrivals forms on entering the State or Territory in order to be admitted under the travel exemptions.
AIMPE has sourced the arrivals forms so that members can read the forms in advance:
Northern Territory NT__border-arrival-form.pdf (375.51 KB Thu Mar 26 16:48:27 2020)
Western Australia WA_Arrivals_form_DPC00156_COVID-19_Factsheet_A4-BorderClose_.pdf (277.32 KB Thu Mar 26 16:31:36 2020)
Tasmania Tasmanian_Arrivals_Form.pdf (91.81 KB Thu Mar 26 16:32:08 2020)
Queensland- online application for entry can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass
South Australia - awaiting publication
Queensland Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 26 03 20)
On 25th March, the Queensland Government published Directions which includes provision that ship crew members will not have to go through 14 days self-isolation before joining their vessels - subject to certain conditions:
17.Ship crew travelling from another State or Territory, for the limited period of delivery of persons, transport or freight of goods, or logistics for them, into, within and out of Queensland, on the condition that the person must practise social distancing wherever possible, including maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres where reasonably practicable and must remain on board ship in self-quarantine until the ship departs Queensland or via a flight, where the self-quarantine period is less than 14 days.
Here is a copy of the Queensland Directions:
Queensland_Border_restrictions_25_03_20.docx (18.07 KB Thu Mar 26 14:50:15 2020)
Tasmanian Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 26 03 20)
The Tasmanian Government was the first State government to issue Directions which mean that maritime crew members will not have to go through 14 days self-isolation before joining their vessels.
Here is a copy of the Tasmanian Directions:
Tasmanian_Direction_under_section_16_of_the_Public_Health_Act_1997.pdf (1.84 MB Thu Mar 26 14:14:05 2020)
NT Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 26 03 20)
The NT Government has issued new Directions which mean that maritime crew members will not have to go through 14 days self-isolation before joining their vessels.
Here is a copy of the new Directions:
NT_cho-directions-signed-nr8.pdf (219.34 KB Thu Mar 26 13:21:42 2020)
On Monday, after NT announced it was closing its borders, AIMPE wrote to the NT Chief Minister seeking exemption from the 14 day self-isolation requirement:
AIMPE_letter_to_Chief_Minister_NT_M_Gunner_23_03_20.pdf (129.23 KB Thu Mar 26 13:22:47 2020)
SA Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 26 03 20)
The SA Government has issued new Directions which mean that maritime crew members will not have to go through 14 days self-isolation before joining their vessels.
Here is a copy of the new Directions:
SA_Cross-Border-Travel-Direction-2020.pdf (911.78 KB Thu Mar 26 13:19:14 2020)
On Monday, after SA announced it was closing its borders, AIMPE wrote to the SA Premier seeking exemption from the 14 day self-isolation requirement:
AIMPE_letter_to_Premier_S_Marshall__SA_23_03_20.pdf (129.19 KB Thu Mar 26 13:18:40 2020)
WA Government maritime crew travel exemption
(posted 25 03 20)
AIMPE can advise members that the WA Government has issued new Directions which mean that maritime crew members will not have to go through 14 days self-isolation before joining their vessels.
Late on 24th March AIMPE received the attached new Directions that were issued on 24th March by the Commissioner of Police and State Emergency Coordinator.
Here is a copy of the new Directions:
WA_Self-Quarantine_Following_Interstate_Travel_Directions_Update__24_03_20.pdf (2.15 MB Wed Mar 25 12:14:24 2020)
This is a 10 page notice relating to the border restrictions effective from 24th March.
It has provisions which are extremely important for AIMPE members travelling to WA for work.
There is an exemption (from the 14 day self-isolation requirement) for transiting passengers going to a vessel which is leaving WA – e.g. Trident LNG members – see clause 14 (a)(ii).
There is an exemption for people who are crew members of a ship, boat or any other kind of vessel who does not leave that vessel Cl 14 (b)(i) or leaves with authorisation of an officer authorised by the State Emergency Coordinator – e.g. oil and gas vessels cl 14 (b)(ii).
There is also an exemption for any person performing and Essential Service – cl 15.
Essential Service is defined in cl 21 (g) to include any person responsible for provision of transport or freight and logistics services into and out of Western Australia – e.g. supply vessels, tugboats.
IN addition Essential Services include Specialist Skills which includes people who ordinarily live or work in WA and travel interstate for work purposes including Fi-Fo workers. – cl 21 (k).
Earlier in the week, after WA announced it was closing its borders, AIMPE wrote to the WA Premier seeking exemption from the 14 day self-isolation requirement:
AIMPE_letter_to_Premier_M_McGowan_WA_23_03_20.pdf (129.63 KB Wed Mar 25 10:37:47 2020)
This Direction gives grounds for confidence that AIMPE members travelling to WA to work on vessels will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Maritime crew travel exemption
Australian Border Force notice
(posted 23 03 20)
Australian Border Force has issued a new notice which clarifies that maritime crew are able to travel to join and to leave their vessels despite the travel restrictions announced by the Prime Minister.
A copy of the notice can be read here:
ABF_Commercial_Vessel_Advice_20_March_2020.pdf (544.51 KB Mon Mar 23 08:20:50 2020)
AIMPE will be asking both the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Health to publicise this maritime crew travel exemption by publishing this information on their websites so that everyone in the industry is aware of the exemption.
AMSA responses to Covid-19
(posted 21 03 20)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has taken a series of decisions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- closed their offices to the public;
- suspended face to face oral exams in favour of Skype exams; and
- advised of an extension to STCW Certificates of Competency.
See more detail below:
STCW Certificate of Competency extension
On 19th March AMSA put in place the following procedure so that holders of STCW certificates of competency may revalidate and continue to work:
AMSA will be using the provision contained within Marine Order 70 section 15 to extend seafarer certificates for up to 6 months if satisfied that the person does not meet revalidation requirements due to circumstances beyond their control due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes travel bans, cancelled training courses, social distancing rules, doctors unavailable to conduct medical examinations, etc.
If a seafarer is unable to provide either an updated AMSA medical or an approved continued competence refresher course completion certificate(s) but meets all other revalidation requirements (i.e. sea service), AMSA will accept an application made in the approved format and issue a temporary certificate with 6 months validity. On receipt of the continued competence refresher course completion certificate and/or updated AMSA medical, provided the applicant then meets the full revalidation requirements AMSA will issue a 5 year certificate at no additional cost. Seafarers will not be required to submit a new application when they have completed the AMSA medical or continued competency course, AMSA will accept that document by email or post to SCS.
SEAFARER CERTIFICATION SERVICES
Oral Exams by Skype only
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic AMSA has made the decision to cease face-to-face oral exams from Thursday 19 March 2020. From this date the exam will be conducted via Skype. This applies to both STCW international and domestic oral exams. The temporary ban will be in place until 30 April 2020 but we will review before this date to determine if it is necessary to continue with the temporary arrangement.
The AMSA website is being updated accordingly with the new procedure, candidates who have already booked an oral exam are being contacted and all RTO’s are being advised.
I would be grateful if you could circulate to your membership and apologise for the inconvenience.
Thank you for your support
SEAFARER CERTIFICATION SERVICES
AMSA offices closed
From close of business Friday 20 March 2020, AMSA offices will close to the public due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is part of our precautionary approach in responding to COVID-19. Our priority is to protect the health of our employees and reduce the impact on AMSA’s ability to keep delivering essential services to the maritime community. We are all operating in uncertain times and understand that people may be dealing with some disruption which we are doing our best to manage.
If you need to speak to a member of the AMSA team, please call AMSA Connect on 1800 627 484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMSA’s emergency and critical operations for search and rescue are NOT affected.
Trident LNG ballot of AIMPE members
(posted 20 03 20)
The future of the four ships in the Trident LNG fleet is now clear after the voting by AIMPE and AMOU members on the question of the Memorandum of Understanding bwteen the two Officer unions and the company.
The AIMPE ballot was concluded earlier this week and the result is that the resolution was approved by a majority of members. The outcome of the AMOU ballot was that they also approved the resolution by a majority of members.
The question was:
Do you approve the signing by AIMPE of the Trident LNG/AMOU/AIMPE Memorandum of Understanding incorporating Appendix 1 Training and Promotion Regime circulated to members on 6th March 2020 that will underpin the Trident LNG Labour Agreement?
The number of AIMPE members employed by Trident is 50.
The number of votes cast was 37
That is 74% of members voted.
The number of Yes votes was 33
(89% of votes cast in favour.)
The number of No votes was 4
(11% of votes cast against.)
The ballot followed the visits to all 4 of the Trident LNG tankers – Northwest Sanderling, Northwest Stormpetrel, Northwest Sandpiper and Northwest Snipe.
Both the Officer unions, the COA Arbitrator and the three companies (Trident LNG, Shell Tankers and North West Shipping Services) were represented on all four ship visits. The MUA/CFMMEU also attended on the first three ships.
AIMPE Federal Executive authorised the signing of the MoU and that has now been done and the document sent to Trident LNG for their signature.
Subsequently the arbitration proceedings initiated by Shell/Trident have been adjourned indefinitely by the Arbitrator and so the threat of the removal of one of the four tankers has been removed.
AIMPE will continue to work to make sure that all of the Engineer positions on the four tankers are filled by Australians at all times and that the "contingency" of the deployment of up to 2 Shell International Engineers is not required.
COVID – 19 AIMPE Responses
(posted 19 03 20)
In response to the new restrictions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus, as announced by the Federal Government on 15th March, AIMPE Federal Executive has taken a range of decisions.
1. AIMPE Monthly meetings have been cancelled for March and April.
2. AIMPE Federal Executive meeting for April has been converted to a teleconference meeting.
3. AIMPE International travel has been suspended until further notice. Any vessel inspections will be carried out first port in Australia.
4. AIMPE Domestic travel has been limited to essential travel only and staff/officials are hereby instructed to use teleconferencing or videoconferencing wherever possible.
5. AIMPE’s Queensland Tug Conference which was scheduled for April in Gladstone has been postponed.
6. The timing of AIMPE’s Federal Council meeting will be reconsidered at the April Federal Executive meeting.
Coronavirus - ACTU checklist for workplaces
(updated 17 03 20)
The ACTU has issued a checklist for workplaces to deal with issues arising from the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
coronavirus_workplace_checklist.pdf (196.04 KB Tue Mar 17 14:51:21 2020)
This is a general checklist and some of the items are not going to be applicable to the maritime industry e.g. working fmro home is not possible for seafarers.
Coronavirus - 4th update for Marine Industry
(updated 13 03 20)
The fourth version of the Department of Health information sheet regarding the coronavirus control measures that are to being applied to the Australian maritime industry was released on 12th March 2020 including latest restrictions relating to the situation in Italy. See the full detail here:
coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-marine-industry_v4.pdf (195.43 KB Fri Mar 13 14:32:42 2020)
Coronavirus - March update for Marine Industry
(updated 11 03 20)
On 6th March 2020 the Department of Health released an updated information sheet regarding the coronavirus control measures that are to being applied to the following vessels:
• Vessels that have left, or transited through, mainland China or Iran in the 14 days before arrival in Australia.
• Vessels that have left, or transited through, the Republic of Korea or Italy on or after 5 March 2020.
• Vessels with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, mainland China or Iran in the 14 days before arrival in Australia.
• Vessels with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, the Republic of Korea or Italy on or after 5 March 2020.
• Vessels that have ill crew or passengers on board.
• Vessels that have crew or passengers who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
The new sheet can be read here:
coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-marine-industry.pdf (194.91 KB Wed Mar 11 13:23:07 2020)
Coronavirus - COVID-19 - Marine Industry update
(updated 19 02 20)
The Department of Health have released an updated information sheet regarding the coronavirus control measures that are to being applied to vessels that have departed Chinese ports since 1st February. The new sheet can be read here:
The media and the internet are focussing plenty of attention on the COVID-19 outbreak. Most attention is on China. Past epidemics have not been restricted to just one country or region so it is likely that COVID-19 will spread. How far and how fast is the question and the control measures being put in place are intended to restrict or at least slow down the rate of spread.
Hopefully the medical researches who are working on the virus will be able to produce anti-viral drugs quickly enough to be produced and distributed before the virus has gone global.
Coronavirus - maritime controls
(updated 07 02 20)
The Australian Border Force and Department of Health have released notices clarifying the coronavirus control measures that are to be applied to vessels that have departed Chinese ports since 1st February.
These notices effectively extend the travel measures initially announced by the Federal Government on 1st February.
Border Force Notice
Advice_to_commercial_vessels_-_2__06022020.pdf (54.12 KB Fri Feb 7 08:50:43 2020)
Department of Health Information Sheet
Information_for_marine_industry_06Feb2020_Final.pdf (239.06 KB Fri Feb 7 08:51:52 2020)
For further updates please refer to the Department of Health website:
What vessels have additional coronavirus requirements?
Vessels that have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
Vessels with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
Vessels that have had ill crew or passengers on board in the past 14 days.
Vessels that have crew or passengers who have been in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the past 14 days
What happens to vessels subject to the coronavirus requirements?
Crew and passengers on board these vessels may be subject to additional health screening and self-isolation requirements when disembarking in Australia.
How can the marine industry reduce the risk to passengers, crew and marine industry staff (e.g. stevedores)?
Person-to-person spread of the coronavirus can occur, but it is not yet understood how easily this happens. The following measures will help reduce the risk of illness on board commercial vessels:
Commercial vessels should promote good cough and sneeze hygiene among crew and passengers.
Commercial vessels should undertake appropriate cleaning and disinfection activities.
People should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
People should avoid touching their mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed or gloved hands.
If personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended, it should be worn properly.
Where possible, people should stay one metre or more away from passengers or crew with symptoms of coronavirus unless wearing appropriate PPE as per employer work instructions.
Marine industry staff temporarily boarding a vessel that is subject to additional coronavirus requirements should stay one metre or more away from crew unless wearing appropriate PPE (surgical mask and gloves).
Awareness should be increased by providing the Department of Health’s fact sheets on coronavirus to passengers and crew.
Crew on vessels that are subject to additional coronavirus requirements should be advised to continue following existing employer infection prevention work instructions when in contact with crew or passengers, including using personal protective equipment (PPE) when recommended.
Bushfire crisis - maritime response
(updated 24 01 20)
The bushfire crisis around Australia this summer has impacted members in most States – from the direct consequences for those in the fire regions to the choking smoke haze in many cities and towns. But there has also been a significant maritime response to the fire emergency in several coastal locations.
Far Saracen- inital response
Mallacoota in far eastern Victoria saw the arrival of the Solstad supply vessel Far Saracen early in the New Year delivering bottled water, fuel and other supplies to the town which had its normal road access cut off by the inferno. Solstad also provided the Far Senator to assist in the response.
Left - Far Saracen standing off Mallacoota during the bushfire emergency.
Right - AIMPE member Sean Connolly driving the Far Saracen FRC with Victoria Police holding the baby during the Mallacoota evacuation.
- Below - Far Saracen C/E Peter Burnham loading emergency stores on the after deck of Far Saracen.
Sycamore - first evacuations
On New Year’s Day the training vessel Sycamore,
operated by Teekay for the RAN,
departed Sydney (above Copyright Department of Defence)in company with the HMAS Choules
to assist with the evacuation of stranded tourists and residents who wanted to leave the stricken town of Mallacoota.
Sycamore is a Marine Aviation Training Vessel - which provides for the training of naval helicopter and landing crews on the afterdeck helipad. The need to accommodate all the RAN personnel involved in routine training means that the Sycamore has additional cabins which were available for the evacuees from Mallacoota.
The first evacuation of people to Westernport was carried out by Sycamore on 3rd and 4th January with HMAS Choules transporting the bulk of the evacuees also on 4th January.
MV Sycamore tendertaking evacuees to the ship off Mallacoota
Photo copyright Department of Defence
Crew of the MV Sycamore with Chief of Navy Mike Noonan
Photo AIMPE member Chief Engineer George Parsons
Svitzer tugs - safe haven
In Eden on the far South Coast of NSW the Svitzer tugs Cooma and Wistari provided a place of refuge for a large number of people as that town was consumed by smoke and ash from the surrounding fires.
At one stage the woodchip mill on the southern side of Twofold Bay was engulfed in the firestorm and suffered severe damage.
Svitzer tug Cooma sheltered people during the fire crisis in Eden Eden woodchip mill ablaze
Photo AIMPE member Svitzer Tug Engineer Nick Haenig Photo AIMPE member Svitzer Tug Engineer Nick Haenig
Sealink ferries - two-way assistance
South Australia was not safe from the fires and Kangaroo Island was very badly hit.
The Sealink Kangaroo Island ferries assisted in the bushfire response by evacuating tourists and residents from the island and transporting Australian Defence Forces personnel over to the island to assist with the fire-fighting.
Sealink Kangaroo Island Ferries assisting with Defence response to KI fire
Photo copyright Department of Defence
Congratulations are due to all of the seafarers who assisted in these particular response efforts – in addition to all of the efforts put in by so many people in so many ways. It is not part of their normal duties to carry out evacuations and provide refuge but they did so willingly and without hesitation.
Well done to all concerned.
Of course, there were also many instances of small craft being used by people in coastal towns under threat from the raging fires.
Fishing boats, barges, tinnies and other private craft were used to enable people to escape from the galloping firestorms that broke out during the emergency.
Port of Geelong - early preparations
In November - before the bushfire season had really reached its peak, preparations were underway for the response.
Below left berthing BBC Scandinavia as it brings firefighting helicopters into Victoria - Photo AIMPE member Monty Woolley
Below right one of the Erickson helicopters offloaded - minus rotor blades - Photo AIMPE member Monty Woolley
Bushfire crisis - donation options
(uploaded 10 01 20)
Donations to assist those affected by the bushfire crisis around Australia can made through a number of avenues.
Rural Fire Service of NSW
One option is the support the Rural Fire Service of NSW.
The RFS has different ways that donations can be made and these option can be found at:
Country Fire Authority of Victoria
The Country Fire Authority of Victoria is also accepting donations.
Information on making donations through the CFA can be found here:
Country Fire Service of South Australia
Likewise the Country Fire Service of South Australia has a donations page on their website:
Global Seafarer - January 2020 edition
(uploaded 07 01 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 2020 edition of the Global Seafarer can be accessed here:
01._JAN20_GlobalSeafarer.pdf (1.93 MB Tue Jan 7 11:15:09 2020)
AIMPE Submission to Federal Government - November 2019
(uploaded 26 11 19)
AIMPE Director of Government Services, Michael Bakhaazi and Federal Secretary Martin Byrne attended consultations organised by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development on 1st November and briefed the bureaucrats on the ideas contained in AIMPE’s Maritime Australia plan which was prepared prior to the May Federal Election earlier this year. We also explored the meaning of the reference to “high cost subsidies” in the correspondence received from the Deputy Prime Minister in October.
Subsequently, the AIMPE Federal Executive approved the AIMPE submission on 15th November. The AIMPE submission seeks that the Australian Government enter into contracts with Australian shipping companies to operate a number of Australian flag coastal tankers to replace many of the foreign flag Temporary Licence ships currently carrying these cargoes around Australia. If accepted and implemented by the Government this would increase employment opportunities for qualified Australian Engineer Officers and Deck Officers. It would also help address the problem of the lack of fuel security and in addition it would require the companies to provide training opportunities for new entrant Australian Engineer Officers and Deck Officers - view the submission
AIMPE_Solutions_for_a_better_coastal_trading_system_15_11_19.pdf (232.48 KB Tue Nov 26 15:37:16 2019)
This latest submission does not aspire to implement all of the changes which were contained in AIMPE's Maritime Australia plan. There is no indication that the Government has any intention of changing course so dramatically on shipping policy. Instead the submission seeks to rely on the two major issues of lack of training of Australian officers and the lack of fuel security to justify a new policy of the Government contracting a number of petroleum tankers and gas tankers to operate on the Australian coast. These ships would effectively replace a number of the Temporary Licence ships which have been used by the oil and gas companies since the withdrawal of the Australian crewed tanker fleet.
This should be seen as an interim measure to retain a core of maritime skills and training opportunities in the Australian coastal trading sector. It is not proposed as the ideal long-term structure for the industry.
Global Seafarer -October 2019 edition
(uploaded 04 11 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 October 2019 edition of the Global Seafarer can be accessed here:
10.OCT19_-_GlobalSeafarer.pdf (1.81 MB Mon Nov 4 08:27:18 2019)
National Merchant Navy War Memorial - 30th anniversary
(uploaded 04 11 19)
The 30th annual commemoration at the national Merchant Navy War Memorial in Canberra took place om Sunday 20th October.
The Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds was the guest speaker at the commemoration which also saw the unveiling of the new modifications to the memorial. The most significant of the changes is the addition of four new pillars which carry the names of the Australian merchant vessels lost at sea in WWI and WWII together with the names of the seafarers who were lost when those ships went down.
TRANSCRIPT_Defence_Minister_Senator_Reynolds_20_10_19.pdf (82.20 KB Mon Nov 4 10:26:50 2019)
There were 5 surviving WWII Merchant Navy seafarers in attendance at the 30th annual, pictured above with Defence Minister Senator Reynolds, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Ms Nola Marino and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.
AIMPE was represented at the commemoration by Federal President Martin Byrne and Director of Government Services Michael Bakhaazi. AIMPE was one of many organisations which laid a wreath in memory of the Australian merchant seafarers lost in the two World Wars.
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: