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Armed police turf protesting Australian seafarers off CSL Melbourne

Armed police boarded the CSL Melbourne at the Port of Newcastle this morning and turfed off five protesting Australian seafarers. They were replaced with a foreign crew and the ship departed for Singapore a week later than planned. The five were protesting the crew change, as part of an ongoing debate in Australia on the current government’s plans to relax laws on the use foreign seafarers.

This marks the second time in a month that Australian crew have been forcibly removed from ships, and replaced by foreign seafarers. The Portland ship had a similar story, which came to a police raid style end on January 13.

“This is a disgraceful episode in Australian history, when the forces of the state and the police can move on Australian workers, throw them off their legitimate place of work and replace them with labour that will be paid $2 an hour,” Maritime Union of Australia assistant union secretary Warren Smith said.

“We are going to throw everything at a campaign for justice for Australian workers and justice for Australian seafarers.”


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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