WORKERS at BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla have backed a resolution supporting maritime workers who have lost their jobs shipping iron ore from Port Hedland to Port Kembla.

The job losses have occurred due to the BHP decision to no longer use the Australian-crewed ships MV Lowlands Brilliance and MV Mariloula.

The steelworkers are represented by the Australian Workers’ Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union. The AWU passed a resolution supporting seafarers onboard the two ships.

“AWU members at BlueScope call for the reinstatement of Australian iron ore vessels crewed by Australian seafarers that have carried raw materials to Port Kembla for over 100 years,” the resolution said.

“That those Australian seafarers were informed that they were to be dumped from their workplaces without notice and on an international voyage is a disgrace.”

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Maritime Union national secretary Paddy Crumlin thanked the AWU workers for their support.

“The MUA thanks AWU workers at Port Kembla for expressing solidarity at this difficult time and welcomes their voice to the growing chorus of condemnation against BHP and BlueScope,” Mr Crumlin said.

BHP says the freight arrangements with the Lowlands Brilliance and the Mariloula date to a time when BHP was a major steel manufacturer and processor.

“Since this time BHP’s business has changed and we no longer operate and manage freight vessels – including the contracting of crewing services,” a company spokesman said recently.

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