After being on strike for more than two weeks Australian ship's engineers are considering returning to work.
After being on strike for more than two weeks Australian ship's engineers are considering returning to work. Their strike has imperilled supplies of liquid fuel at a time when south east Australia has experienced one of its coldest periods for years.
Supplies of liquid-petroleum gas for cooking and hating are critically low in seven New South Wales country centres, as a result of the strike. The centres are Armidale (the worst hit), Lithgow, Kiama, Cessnock, Yass, Cootamundra and Dubbo. Temperatures in the affected areas fell to freezing and Armidale suffered snowfalls.
However, supplies of fuel are expected to get through to the affected areas as a result of a decision on Tuesday (9th) by the Institute of Marine Power Engineers to recommend a return to normal duties so that an appeal can be made to the Australians Arbitration commission. However, a similar recommendation was rejected by the strikers on Monday (8th). The strike is over the engineers' claims for paid ??? leave to enable them qualify at a higher level by passing the Institute's professional examinations.
So far the strike has tied up 53 ships in ports throughout Australia. The tied up ??? include several tankers carrying Bass Strait crude oil to Australian ???neries.
On Tuesday the engineers allowed several ships to discharge their fuel in ??? to alleviate the shortages affecting New South Wales country areas. In Sydney the tanker ondina with 48,000 tones of crude oil for the Shell refinery ??? began discharging its load.
Heating oil in Sydney is also i short supply and petrol stocks in the Metropolitan area are estimated to be only sufficient for another two weeks. Jet fuel supplies are sufficient for 10-14 days, and diesel for another week.