Unemployed seafarers descend on Canberra to fight for Australian shipping

Save Australian Shipping rally

When: 11am, Tuesday 22 June 2021

Where: Parliament House lawn, Canberra

Unemployed maritime workers from around Australia will descend on the lawns of Parliament House tomorrow to demand urgent action from the Morrison Government to save the Australian shipping industry.

Maritime workers are demanding the Federal Government work with the industry to strengthen Australia’s resilience through the creation of a national strategic fleet, consisting of dozens of ships capable of carrying fuel, containers and bulk goods between Australian ports.

Since the election of the Coalition Government in 2013, more than half of the Australian ships that transported cargo between Australian ports have been lost, taking with them more than 500 direct seafarer jobs.

While ten per cent of the world’s sea trade passes through Australian ports, there are only 12 Australian flagged and crewed cargo ships still operating.

Unemployed seafarers will hold a Jobs Embassy on the Parliament House lawn from 7am, before being joined by supporters and fellow maritime workers for a rally at 11am.

Among the protestors will be seafarers from the MV Portland, who undertook a two-month sit-in protest to prevent their vessel being replaced by a flag-of-convenience ship before they were forcibly removed by security guards in the dead of night and replaced by a foreign crew.

The crew found out from media reports that Alcoa was planning to sack 40 Australian seafarers and sell the MV Portland, which had been carrying alumina from Kwinana in Western Australia to its Portland Aluminium Smelter in Victoria for 27 years.

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