More than 60 wharfies have been stood down after refusing to unload a container vessel carrying medical supplies from China.
The workers claim the ship has not been in port for the required 14-day quarantine period.
Wharfies stood down claim their health is at risk
The Xin Da Lian docked at the DP World terminal at the Port of Melbourne on Tuesday night.
It left Shanghai on March 17, and then stopped at a Taiwanese port on March 19.
Therefore, the Maritime Union of Australia says the vessel is in “in breach of the federal government’s 14-day coronavirus quarantine period”.
The waterside workers believe taking two days off the quarantine period is “a risk to workers and the community”.
The union’s members refused to unload the vessel due to coronavirus concerns and, consequently, the Port of Melbourne stood them down.
Australian Border Force cleared ship to birth
But DP World Australia chief operating officer Andrew Adam claims the Australian Border Force cleared the ship to berth.
In a statement, he says:
“Any crew members aboard a vessel that has been to mainland China, must be sea for 14 days before being allowed to dock in Australia.
“The union cannot unilaterally declare a vessel unsafe.
“They can’t create their own set of rules.”
Rules are confusing
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says the rules around quarantine periods are “confusing”.
“The government set a 14-day quarantine period for vessels arriving in Australia, therefore, why doesn’t the 14-day rule apply?” he asked.
“Remember the incompetence and bad judgement that resulted in infected passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship let into the community.
“That stupid decision resulted in dozens of Australia’s coronavirus infections.
“The health and safety of workers must always come first.”
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