Aug 27, 2014

Ship ban vindicates need for maritime laws

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority ban on an overseas-flagged vessel for breaches of seafarer welfare is a timely reminder of the importance of retaining an Australian shipping industry and enforcing Australian law on ships that operate in our waters.

AMSA announced today that it had banned the Liberia-flagged Vega Auriga from Australian waters for three months over repeated breaches of the law relating to wages and safety standards.

Labor welcomes this action as evidence that the Navigation Act of 2012, passed under the former Labor Government, is working to protect seafarer welfare.

Labor created these laws in response to complaints that overseas-flagged vessels operating in Australian waters were not only paying Third World wages, but also failing to observe appropriate safety requirements.

Labor also notes that the Abbott Government is under pressure from business to amend the laws, particularly as they relate to the requirement that foreign-flagged vessels working between Australian domestic ports must pay Australian-level wages.

Everyone else working in Australia has to abide by Australian laws and there should be no exceptions for overseas vessels on either wages or safety.