Two night ago 3news breathlessly told us that the whole Rena disaster could have been averted if only the government had taken up a proposal to buy a ship that possibly, could have, might have been used to help off load the bunker oil.
Never-mind that work would still had to have been completed to reverse engineer piping and heating systems to do such a ting. Never mind also that 3News were fed the story by the Maritime Union who also didn’t declare their little involvement in the whole deal.
Why also has the media not been very, very careful in seeking statement from the Maritime Union, especially when they are registered as a promotor in both the general election and in the referendum, planning on spending and saying a great deal politically.
Back to the ship deal. All was not as it seems on the 3News item.
The pitch made at the time by the Maritime Union for the government to buy and fund a fully crewed 24/7 oil response vessel, had less to do with environmental safety than it did about protecting the jobs of the vessel’s union-member crew.
Nelson company Unimar leased the Marsol Pride from Dubai last January with the intention of contracting it out to the private oil, gas and mineral sector.
Unimar boss Calum MacLean said at the time that leasing the Marsol Pride was a big investment for the company, and “hopefully it will pay off.”
But when a contract supporting an offshore gold mining prospector off the West Coast finished, Unimar couldn’t find more work for the Marsol Pride, and the crew was laid off.
Writing in the Maritime Union’s quarterly magazine Maritimes in mid 2010 the union said “we’re trying to broker a deal for the crew … we are currently working on a plan to accommodate this.”
Letters to Cabinet Ministers followed, but the Oil Pollution Advisory Committee evaluated the union’s suggestion and decided against funding a dedicated emergency response vessel based in New Zealand.
The Government says there is no shortage of oil recovery support vessels operating in the private sector in New Zealand, including in Unimar’s existing fleet.
Coincidentally Unimar is one of a number of private sector companies with oil support vessels helping with the Rena clean up, right now making a lie of the claim that the Government missed out on specialised ships and are somehow to blame. Those specialised ships are right now in Tauranga assisting.
This seems to be nothing more than a political beat up and an arrangement between a private company and a union to get the government to pay them for a poor investment choice and at the same time protect unionised workers.
When you add in that the Maritime Union is registered to spend up to $300,000 promoting their causes in both the general election and the referendum then you see why it is very important that the media look into the vested interests behind stories they are handed on a platter.