Alexander Spirit will depart Tasmania tomorrow

Sydney: The sailing of the controversy-hit Alexander Spirit from Tasmania to Singapore has been delayed until tomorrow as its owner, Teekay, seeks an extra crewmember to meet minimum crewing requirements.

The 36 crew refused to sail the Alexander Spirit (40,100 dwt, built 2007), which is on charter to Caltex, to Singapore from Devonport in Tasmania on July 3, after being told they will be made redundant on arrival and replaced by foreign workers. A tribunal ruled last Friday, however, that the industrial action was illegal and the ship had to head to Singapore as originally scheduled.

A spokesperson for the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Ian Bray, said at least four crewmembers have now left the ship due to stress-related health problems.

“The ship is an isolated workplace, they’re away from support groups, they’re away from family,” Bray said.

The MUA is fighting Canberra’s decision to ease cabotage rulings.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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