Athens: Closure of one of BP’s Australian refineries has prompted the oil major to take one of its coastal product tankers out of operation in the country. Unions are protesting the replacement of Australian jobs with foreign labour.
The MR product tanker British Loyalty (46,800 dwt, built 2004), which BP operates, is the third Australian tanker to stop operating in the last 12 months.
BP’s Queensland oil refinery at Brisbane is due to close in mid-2015, leaving the vessel surplus to requirements.
The tanker has been ordered to sail to Singapore, where it enter back into BP’s international shipping trade, says the Sydney Morning Herald. The 36 crew will be made redundant when it arrives.
Only two local tankers are still being used for coastal transport in Australia.
Workers today staged a protest outside BP Australia’s headquarters in Melbourne.
Ian Bray, assistant national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, said that foreign-flagged and -crewed vessels could compromise safety and environmental standards, like the Chinese bulk carrier Shen Neng 1, which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. Unions also say foreign seafarers are “grossly underpaid”.
Although engaged in Australian coastal trade, the British Loyalty flies the flag of Great Britain.