Crew onboard Teekay tanker in Australia refuse to sail vessel in protest

Sydney: Australian crew onboard an oil tanker operated by Teekay Shipping are refusing to sail the vessel to Singapore from Tasmania, after being told they will be made redundant after the vessel arrives.

The 36 crew are transporting oil for Caltex onboard the MR tanker Alexander Spirit (40,100 dwt, built 2007), which is currently anchored at Devenport, Tasmania.

The seafarers have filed an application for a hearing in Fair Work Australia, according to Australian news reports.

Ian Bray from the Maritime Union of Australia told press that Caltex may well return the ship to Australian waters with a foreign crew, who could be employed much more cheaply than Australian nationals, in an effort to avoid cabotage laws.

“Once there’s an Australian vessel that’s not available to carry the cargo it’s quite legal for a company to bring in a ship with a foreign crew, and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Bray said. “They’re removing the impediment to the cheaper labour by removing the ship.”

The Australian government has proposed coastal shipping reforms in its new Budget, which it is hoped will simplify cabotage regulations in the country. One of the proposed reforms is to replace the “five-licence” requirement with a simple coastal permit.

Unions in Australia protested in May when BP took one of its MR coastal product tankers out of operation in the country following the closure of one of its Australian refineries. The 36 crew were made redundant when the vessel reached Singapore.

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.


  1. Looks like Caltex and other multi-nationals don’t want to pay Australian wages whilst charging Australian prices for their products. Meanwhile our government can’t bend backwards enough to facilitate big end of towns every wish…

  2. How have the mua, destroyed shipping in Australia. There are sadly very few Australian flagged, ships. Australian resources, are being given away. Limited fuel supply. Why shouldn’t Australian citizen share in the resources. Oh yes you want to hire Asian on 20 dollars a day sixmonth at sea ect. Well to live in the developed countries it costs money. Multi national companies have been ripping off Australia a long time

  3. Congratulations, well done.

    Far far away in Spain seafaress are suffering the same situation, but instead of take the power, the government works for the bussiness/banks/owners

    OXI to the capital unmanagement

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