Maritime News

Australian inquiry backs union concerns about FOC shipping

21 July 2017

An Australian Senate inquiry into flag of convenience (FOC) shipping has backed union concerns that the use of foreign-flagged shipping poses a risk to the nation’s security. The inquiry heard evidence that organised crime syndicates or terrorist groups could exploit aspects of FOC, such as lack of transparency about the identity of shipowners and insufficient regulatory enforcement and adherence to standards.

The Senate report concluded that FOC vessels “present serious security risks to the Australian coast, which need to be properly addressed”, and that the Australian government was “failing to address the serious security, economic, human rights and environmental vulnerabilities in the sector”.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin, also national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, said that the Australian government “has allowed Australian seafarers to be replaced by FOC lawlessness that now threatens our very national security.

“Under their legislative abuses, Australian seafarers – properly trained, security-screened and resident taxpayers – have been sacked and their jobs in a domestic transport sector given away to whoever comes over the horizon, without a word of inquiry about their background.”

The ITF welcomed the inquiry’s call for a comprehensive government review into the potential economic, security and environmental risks presented by FOC shipping.

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