Unionized seafarers are being blamed unfairly for the Rena disaster

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 19, 2011 - LM Editorial

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is rightly contending that the responsibility for the Rena disaster lies with Government and authorities as much as with individual crew members.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the arrest today of the master of the Rena on serious charges should not deflect attention away from the greater responsibility for the disaster.

He says New Zealand Government and authorities have created a situation where substandard flag of convenience shipping has been encouraged and enabled.

“1990s legislation from the then National Government created the so-called ‘open coast’ policy and this has meant that unacceptable practices have become the norm in New Zealand waters – it’s a case of out of sight and out of mind.”

Fleetwood says a Maritime New Zealand “inspection” of the Rena in Bluff on 28 September 2011 apparently consisted of the inspector asking the Master whether previous problems had been fixed.

“This is the same Master that the authorities are now trying to pin the blame on a couple of weeks later after the disaster.”

“But at the time of the inspection they obviously were prepared to take the Master at his word that everything was hunky dory on his ship, despite the fact it had been hauled up in China and Australia for multiple problems.”

Fleetwood says if this is the standard approach of Maritime New Zealand to dealing with obviously problematic vessels, the only surprise in the grounding of the Rena is that it hadn’t happened earlier.

He says the Union is very concerned about the welfare of crew members and wanted access to them to provide independent support.

“Can you imagine the stress of these seafarers, many with dependent families, who have spent nearly a week onboard a stricken vessel in mortal fear of their lives, and some only being taken off by helicopter after a Mayday call when the ship appeared to be in imminent catastrophe.”

He says it is now becoming a regular theme that systemic policy and regulation failures are resulting in serious harm to workers, the community and the environment.

“It is about time that the elected leaders started copping it when things go wrong rather than putting a smother over it and trying to shift the blame.”



About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Supply chain security provider Freightwatch International has released its semi-annual report on cargo theft in the Asia Pacific region for the first half of 2014, which contains some heartening news for U.S. shippers reliant on trucking, warehousing and retail.

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, reports today that a decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed previous rulings by the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in three class action cases involving mostly former independent contractors for FedEx Ground

More talking remains before the deal is done

The transpacific U.S.-flag carrier has been ranked number one in the ocean carrier category for Logistics Management magazine's Quest for Quality award

This year, the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) will be staging the “Connie” Awards dinner in conjunction with IANA’s Intermodal EXPO in Long Beach

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA