ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the Federal Government should crack down on flag of convenience ships operating in Australian waters after today’s High Court decision on the CSL Shipping case.

A unanimous Full Bench of the High Court today ruled in favour of maritime unions and the ACTU who argued that foreign registered ships working on the Australian coast could be subject to Australian industrial laws.

The Court rejected the arguments of CSL and the Howard Government, who intervened in the case to support the foreign company, which had sacked its Australian crew, replaced them with Ukrainian seafarers and transferred its ship’s registration to the Bahamas.

“Instead of supporting these foreign companies, the Federal Government should stop them from destroying the Australian shipping industry,” Ms Burrow said.

“Now that the High Court has ruled, Transport Minister John Anderson should should stop using the foreign ship permit system to replace Australian jobs and undermine Australian wages and conditions.”

Ms Burrow said that Australia’s merchant shipping industry is being wiped out by Mr Anderson’s policy of issuing numerous permits to flag-of-convenience ships to work on the Australian coast.

“Countries like Britain and the US act to limit the use of flag-of-convenience ships, but the Howard Government is issuing more and more permits for these vessels to work in Australia with low-wage foreign labour,” Ms Burrow said.