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Australian bushfire crisis prompt calls for more emergency response vessels

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 5, 2020
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) have launched a petition calling on the Australian government to purchase the Aurora Australis a multi-purpose research and resupply ship that will be retired after the summer from service with the Australian Antarctic Division for use as an emergency response vessel during natural disasters.
Australia fire
Weather in Australia   Australia fire
Over the past 5 months, Australia has experienced unprecedented bushfires on a scale that the modern world has never seen. The impact on communities, the tragic loss of life and property, the hundreds of millions of animals that have been killed and the devastation to the Australian landscape is staggering, and sadly not yet over.

Topics: Australia fire crisis emergency vessel

Throughout the crisis civilian vessels have provided vital support to isolated communities that have been severely impacted by the fires, delivering food, water, fuel and other relief supplies, assisting with evacuations and transporting defence equipment and personal, and providing emergency shelter to people seeking refuge.

The launch of the MUA petition follows a proposal from the Australian Labor Party calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to acquire the Aurora Australis and develop Australia’s civilian maritime emergency response capacity to respond to future bushfire crises and other natural disasters including floods and cyclones.

The call for public support also coincides with a global meeting of ITF’s Cabotage Task Force in Australia, where maritime unions will this week be discussing the importance and significance of sustaining strong national shipping industries.

Jim Given, president of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada and chair of the ITF’s Cabotage Task Force, said that ITF unions globally join in urging the Morrison government to secure the Aurora Australis and to strengthen Australia’s domestic shipping industry.

“The reason we’re in Australia and heading to parliament this week is to discuss the importance of reinvigorating Australia’s domestic shipping industry.”