We would all be aware of the impact that this COVID-19 has had on the maritime industry worldwide. It has affected trade globally and our ports and shipping has seen a huge impact on their operations. No sector has been more impacted than the cruise industry. Since the Diamond Princess in Tokyo, the world has seen many cruise liners suffering with major outbreaks of the virus. The vessels and the crew associated with these vessels has been targeted by media and government and the image of this industry has been tainted in the community.
Australia has seen issues with cruise lines and governments on both the east and west coasts with the RUBY PRINCESS being of major focus. Regardless of the situation on these vessels, it must be remembered that these vessels do not have "HOME PORTS" as stated by our government. The crew and officers onboard these vessels are innocent maritime employees from all corners of the world. They are following company instructions and fulfilling their onboard responsibilities and are being affected by the virus in the same way the rest of the world is. These vessels require medical assitance and attention and the crew need screening and testing. If the vessels are being laid up then these non-essential crews need to be repatriated back to their homes, just as Australians are trying to return to their families back in Australia. Under maritime law Australia has responsibilities to prove these facilities.
Maritime organisations across Australia, including unions and industry bodies, are petitioning the government to ensure these vessels crews are given the treatment they deserve and that these vessels are not being sent offshore putting the lives of the seafarers at risk. The Company of Master Mariners also supports these asctions and have addressed appropriate government offocials to ensure our voices have been heard.
In order to ensure all members are fully aware of the latest border closure information, I have included the publication put out by MIAL for your perusal. I will send these out to all members at regular intervals.
Capt. Stuart Davey
Tel: +61410856571 MIAL 20/04/2020