Sunday, June 18, 2006
AN Australian union official has blasted the Federal Government over security in the shipping industry after a foreign seaman threatened to blow up a cargo ship near Melbourne. Thai national Allan Yordan has been sentenced to six months' jail after stabbing a colleague and attacking another crewman with a hammer in the early hours on Thursday aboard the POS Auckland, which was docked at North Shore, Geelong. Mr Yordan then locked himself in the ship's engine room and told the crew he would ignite fuel, which would have been disastrous. The ship at the time was loaded with 33,000 tonnes of the fertilizer, Urea. Mr Yordan was taken into police custody and pleaded guilty to stabbing one colleague and striking another with a hammer.
POS AucklandMaritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said today the Howard government had ignored warnings by the union about the "imminent security threat posed through the lack of any oversight of the issuing of the coastal permits". "This has all the elements for a major catastrophe and yet has not even registered on the Government's radar," Mr Crumlin said. "What is (John) Howard doing about protecting our critical maritime infrastructure and how can he continue to trade off the security of our ports while he presides over the demise of the Australian shipping industry?" The Captain told International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) inspectors the ship was operating under a single-voyage permit issued by the Australian government. The ship was discharging the massive volume of fertiliser before sailing to Bell Bay in Tasmania, via Portland on Victoria's southwest coast. In a statement, the union said the Hong Kong vessel was from the Philippines and crewed by Thai and Filipino nationals. The ship works the Australian coast, replacing Australian shipping and security-checked Australian crews.