Subject: Australia, East Timor workers locked out of gas deal

ABC Radio Australia

Australia, East Timor workers locked out of gas deal

Last Updated 06/01/2006, 18:42:24

East Timorese and Australian maritime workers say they have been locked out of the first shipment of gas from a new project in the Timor Sea.

The Maritime Workers Union of East Timor says Conoco Phillips, the company running the Bayu Undan gas project, has employed no Timorese or Australian crew members to work on the vessel, Pacific Notus.

The ship is scheduled to leave Darwin with liquid natural gas bound for Japan.

The 135,000 cubic-metre carrier was built in Japan but registered in the Bahamas.

The union says Conoco Phillips is using a ship registered under a flag of convenience to avoid labor laws and employ an entirely Japanese and Filipino crew.

Australian union pledges support

The Maritime Union of Australia says it will give whatever support it can to get more Timorese workers involved in the project.

Northern Territory organiser, Mick Killick, says the union is prepared to mount an international campaign.

Delayed departure

The Pacific Notus gas tanker was due to depart on Saturday., but Conoco Phillips the shipment has been delayed.

External affairs manager, Robin Antrobus, says the gas plant is still going through its commissioning process.

Mr Antrobus says he cannot even give an estimate of when the shipment will leave.


see also: Maritime Union of Australia: LNG shipments raise union alarm; Maritime and Transport Workers Union of East Timor: Timorese workers call on Australian comrades to protest LNG giant


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