Police Remove Aussie Crew from CSL Melbourne
After several days of refusing to sail the ship to Singapore, the Aussie crew of the CSL Melbourne bulk carrier have been removed from the ship by armed police officers earlier this morning, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Once the five crew members left the ship, a foreign crew boarded the alumina carrier under police escort and will now sail the ship out of Australian waters.
This is the second time in one month that the police has removed an Australian crew from a ship. Namely, after several weeks of protesting, the crew members of Alcoa ship the MV Portland were woken in the middle of the night by up to 30 security guards, handed their passports and forcibly removed from the vessel.
The sacked crew was refusing to sail the ship to Singapore following the announcement on their replacement with a foreign and cheaper crew, being paid as little as $2-an-hr.
However, the protest did not reap fruit as the crew members got eventually replaced by foreign labor force.
The CSL Melbourne, which transported alumina from Gladstone to Newcastle, along with its 16 Aussie crew members have been sacked by their charterer Pacific Aluminium, which claims the vessel is too big for the route, especially following the closure of Kurri Kurri smelter in 2014.
Pacific Aluminum resorted to the move having been granted a temporary license for 30 voyages from the Turnbull Government last month enabling it to replace the ship’s crew with cheap foreign labour.
As a result, CSL Melbourne has been replaced by the Flag of Convenience (FOC) ship Skyfall, operated by Greek Company “Prime Bulk Ship Management” on the route.
According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Liberian ship does not have an ITF agreement, protecting its seafarers’ most basic rights.
World Maritime News Staff