The Maritime Union is holding a protest rally in Newcastle today, after meeting with the Australian crew of a BP fuel tanker that is set to be sacked.

‘British Loyalty’ arrived in Newcastle harbour yesterday for the last time, leaving around 30 seafarers without a job.

The union’s Dennis Outram said that will leave only two Australian-crewed fuel tankers on the east coast run, and puts the country’s fuel security at risk.

He said safety and environmental standards will drop if foreign crews are brought in, and the union is calling for a national BP boycott.

“It is their last voyage, or supposedly their last voyage on that run,” he said.

“There was a protest up in Brisbane before they left, when they filled up.

“But, we want to get them off the vessel when they get here and we want to have a talk to them, and that will be part of the campaign going forward.

“The protest itself is not only going to encompass our members but also the community – the community should be concerned about this. Show BP that we’re not overly happy with the way they’re treating Australian workers.”

He said it is bad news for fuel security.

“The concern is for our members losing their jobs, but also for 30 years those vessels have been crewed very proudly by Australian seafarers with zero incidents,” he said.

“The work those vessels do will be farmed out to overseas crews, clearly not as highly trained and experienced as our seafarers.

“That in itself should be a big enough scare, seeing they come down through the Great Barrier Reed.

“Any of our sovereign waters would be in danger.”

BP has issued a statement saying its vessels are managed and crewed by a third party Australian company which employs the staff on these vessels.

It says the British Loyalty was responsible for transporting products from the Bulwar Island Refinery and with that facility due to close this month, there will be no products requiring transportation.

Extracted in full from ABC.