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

According to the report, this option will be made available in 14 metropolitan locales in the United States and will not come with an extra fee for Amazon Prime members.

DHL said this investment is being made to meet customer needs for ongoing growth in international e-commerce and global trade and will also provide more gates to accommodate additional aircraft, warehouse space, and new equipment to provide more capacity for sorting shipments and for unloading and reloading planes.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in March dropped 5.3 percent annually to $96.1 billion.

U.S. carloads were down 9.1 percent annually at 273,387, and intermodal volume was up 4.3 percent annually at 281,090 containers and trailers.

NRF's Jonathan Gold explains that the past year was replete with disruptions, slowdowns and partial shutdown, which can no longer be the norm, saying ports and dockworkers must adapt to ensure they provide shippers with the predictability and stability they need.

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 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA