Union refuses to unload cargo vessel, citing Covid-19 risk

The Shipping Australia association has condemned what it described as “the rogue action” of the Victorian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia who were reported to have refused to unload a cargo vessel in Melbourne on the grounds that the vessel was breaching regulations and presented an abnormal risk.

Shipping Australia said that “at a time of national crisis when all other Australians are feeling the pressure, the Victorian branch of the MUA is engaging in a blatant attempt to whip up panic and fear for their own selfish ends”.

The MUA asserted that a cargo vessel had docked in breach of 14-day quarantine rules. Shipping Australia said that the 14-day quarantine applied to crew members who must remain onboard until the 14-day period has elapsed. “The Federal government has not imposed a 14-day quarantine on commercial cargo vessels, which are permitted to berth and work cargo on arrival”, said Shipping Australia.

Shipping Australia is an association comprising 28-member shipping lines and shipping agents, along with 44 companies that provide services to the commercial freight-related maritime industry.