ABC News, 15 July 2015

The departure of a Caltex fuel tanker delayed in Tasmania because of an industrial dispute has been pushed back to Thursday morning.

The Alexander Spirit was due to leave Devonport on Wednesday night and crew were awaiting orders to sail.

They had been told that upon reaching Singapore they will lose their jobs because the ship was being set up to import fuel into Australia rather than make coastal deliveries.

That led to the Australian tanker crew members refusing to leave Devonport earlier this month.

However, Operator Teekay Shipping said it was still trying to find a cook and that a crew shortage was delaying departure to Singapore, rather than any continued industrial action on board.

The Maritime Union of Australia’s (MUA) Ian Bray has said at least four crew members left the ship due to stress-related health problems.

Mr Bray said the crew had received counselling.

Last week, the crew’s protest was deemed illegal by Fair Work Australia.

The MUA then lost an appeal against the commission ruling.

Teekay asked the commission to intervene in the case, and the union argued that some crew members were not fit to make the journey because of mental strain.

Handing down his decision, Commissioner Ian Cambridge said the dispute constituted unprotected industrial action and he ordered it to stop.

He said “the prospect of some abstract psychological condition does not translate into a risk to health and safety” and was not grounds for an exemption under the act.

Trade unions have announced a summit on what they are calling a crisis in Australian shipping.

The Council of Trade Unions said it would pull together business, union and political representatives to discuss ways to reverse a decline in jobs for Australian seafarers.

Extracted in full from ABC News.

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