||Issue No. 252||18 February 2005|
Wood for the Trees
Economics: Super Seduction
Interview: Bono and Me
Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Technology: From Widgets to Digits
Education: Dumb and Dumber
Health: No Place for the Young
History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
Review: Dare to Win
Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
The Locker Room
But Then Again
Detention Centre for Darling Harbour
Tonga-registered Capitaine Tasman was branded a "floating detention centre" after 26 crew were barred from setting foot in Australia, this week, in defiance of international conventions.
ITF spokesman, Dean Summers, has been given the brush by the Immigration Department and Minister Amanda Vantstone's office in his bid to have members of the multi-national crew allowed ashore.
"It's the first time I have heard of an entire ship's crew being locked-in in this country," Summers said. "Shore leave is a basic right for seafarers. It is respected around the world and supported by international conventions."
Crew from the flag-of-convenience ship were barred from coming ashore in Brisbane, mid-week, and as Workers Online published they were holed-up at Darling Harbour, in the middle of Sydney's ritzy tourist precinct.
It is understood the banning order was handed down by Brisbane-based Immigration official, Brod Richie, but he was doing a Sgt Shultz impersonation when we sought clarification.
"I am not able to provide you with any information about that," he said.
"I am not going to provide you with any response and I want you to be very clear on that understanding as well."
However, shipping agent, Harlen Gordon, was more forthcoming. He said crew members would have to remain on board the Capitaine Tasman in Melbourne, as well, and there was nothing his company could do about it.
"It's an immigration issue. Our hands are tied," Gordon said.
Gordon said his company understood Immigration had reacted to the flag-of-covenience ship's history. On previous visits, he said, foreign crew had disappeared in Sydney and stowaways had left at Brisbane.
Summers said in light of that history, it was interesting that authorities still allowed the vessel to ply its trade in Australian waters.
"There's no argument about the company," he said, "it refuses to deal with the ITF or sign off on minimum international standards.
"It's a crappy operation but we are concerned about the crew. They still have rights and there are important questions about those rights that need to be answered."
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