Brisbane refinery blockaded in support of Alexander Spirit

Athens: Caltex’s Brisbane refinery in Australia has been blockaded by around 24 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) protesters in support of industrial action taken by crew onboard the Teekay tanker Alexander Spirit.

The rally is in protest to Caltex’s early termination of the coastal tanker’s 10-year timecharter from Teekay, which would have terminated in 2019.

“They’ve reneged on the charter and are throwing the whole Aussie crew on the unemployment scrapheap,” MUA branch secretary Bob Carnegie told AAP.

“A lot of these are young men that went into a job with the idea that there was at least a 10-year charter, which meant they had a 10-year timeframe to try to build their lives.”

The MUA also argues that terminating the ship’s charter and returning the tanker to international trade will threaten Australia’s fuel security.

Protesters blocked the refinery’s front gates for more than half an hour, preventing four trucks from entering, before police were called, reports say.

The 36 crew refused to sail the Alexander Spirit (40,100 dwt, built 2007) to Singapore from Devonport, Tasmania on July 3, after being told they will be made redundant on arrival and replaced by foreign workers.

The ship was due to leave Devonport, Tasmania for Singapore on July 14 after Australia’s Fair Work Commission ordered the crew to cease their industrial action.

The departure date was subsequently been pushed back to the morning of July 16, as Teekay is reportedly struggling to find extra staff to meet minimum crewing requirements. However, AIS data today shows the vessel is still at Devonport.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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