Wharfies have been stood down after refusing to unload a container vessel at the DP World terminal in Melbourne last night, claiming it was a risk to workers and the community.
According to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the vessel docked in breach of the federal government’s 14-day coronavirus quarantine period.
“Wharfies [understand] their important role during the current crisis, but allowing the container vessel Xin Da Lian to breach the coronavirus quarantine period was simply too great a risk,” claimed an MUA statement.
Shipping Australia condemned the action, noting that the government has not imposed a 14-day quarantine on commercial cargo vessels, which are permitted to berth and work cargo on arrival.
“The union’s claims that the vessel is breaching any sort of regulation and presents an abnormal risk is an outright campaign of lies,” said Shipping Australia. “At a time of national crisis when all other Australians are feeling the pressure, the Victorian branch of the MUA is engaging in a blatant attempt to whip up panic and fear for their own selfish ends.”
“This behaviour is unconscionable,” added Shipping Australia CEO Rod Nairn. “A desperate action by a desperate union at the expense of the Australian public to try to make themselves appear relevant – what a failure.
“The Victorian MUA is attempting to create a fake narrative by cherry-picking facts from completely different sectors. Their statement intentionally confuses cruise ships with cargo vessel. This is a ridiculous and false argument…cargo vessels have hardly anyone onboard in comparison and their 20 or so crew members have very little contact with the outside world.”
Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.