ATN, 22 July 2015

The Caltex oil tanker Alexander Spirit has left Tasmania after being held up for almost three weeks, at first by protests from its employees and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), and later by key crew taking leave.

The tanker – owned and operated by Teekay Australia – had been docked in Devonport from July 3 but finally departed for Singapore in the early hours of this morning.

The crew are due to be made redundant once they arrive, with Caltex instead using the tanker on its international supply chain.

That decision prompted the protests, and a boycott of work on the tanker – which was later deemed unprotected industrial action by the Fair Work Commission.

The crew issued a statement via the MUA before its departure today, noting that it had always been its intention to sail.

“This does not allay our anger and disgust at Caltex and other oil majors such as BP, Viva, Shell, and Mobil selling out Australian jobs,” it says, referring to planned changes to domestic shipping regulations.

“The fact is Flag of Convenience (FOC) shipping is bad for Australia; it is bad for the world,” it says.” Evidence clearly shows that FOC and the absence of any clear regulation of labour standards, safety standards and environmental standards have proven to be the ultimate race to the bottom.”

The Alexander Spirit is due to arrive in Singapore on August 6.

Extracted in full from ATN.