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Editor: Not PC, maybe he shouldn't have said it ...


 

SHIPMASTER REPLACED OVER RACIAL COMMENTS by Peter Miva (The National 29/1/02)

 

AN EXPATRIATE shipmaster was immediately replaced by his Sydney employer in light of allegations of discriminatory comments made against his mostly Papua New Guinean crewmen, shipping agents and terminal despatch officers over the weekend. The comments were contained in a fax allegedly sent by the captain, named, to his employer Dilmun Navigation PNG Ltd head office in Sydney. The fax was apparently picked up by a crewman, of which copies were obtained by the PNG Maritime Workers Industrial Union, The National, the PNG Maritime College and the Foreign Affairs Department. The contents of the fax included these paragraphs:

 

“One is almost daily surrounded by idiots of all types. The PNG crews up here are nowhere near what I would call seamen, as compared to Fiji.

 

“Unreliable, useless, lazy and stupid agents are the rule, not the exception. Of the PNG officers, there appears to me to be only 1 second mate, of whom I am confident in. The rest have to be watched.

 

“No amount of training will change this - you cannot put in what God has left out. The PNG officers Certificate of Competency, to me, at least, appears to come out of a Corn Flake packet.

 

“We have TDO’s (terminal dispatch officers, mostly Mobil employees) a position of great responsibility ashore, filled by people who have little idea of what they should be doing, or how to achieve it.

 

“One becomes very frustrated at times, and wearies of dealing with idiots.

 

“Social life is practically non-existent ashore. PNG has an international reputation for rape, robbery, and murder.

 

“You have to be either very brave, or very stupid, to set foot ashore anywhere in this country at nite. Even daytime in Port Moresby is not considered safe - the international diplomatic community has cited several attacks on staff, in daylight, in the past 12 months. Lae is getting worse - 2 crew members of this vessel have been attacked and robbed ashore whilst going home. There are still no taxis in Lae.

 

“A female tourist was killed recently on a Morobe Tours mini-bus that was held up coming from the airport to a Lae Hotel. Apart from shopping for the ship in Lae, I will not set foot ashore anywhere in this country. I have no wish for my grave headstone to read I was killed in the last place God made.

 

“Competent medical facilities ashore are nearly non-existent. A PNG medical degree is not accepted in Aus/NZ. 20 years ago, it was.

 

“Mobile phones are almost non-existent, public telephones are vandalised. Communications are even more difficult, as the phone towers are pulled down by villagers who haven’t been getting the rent for the land used. You quite often can’t get through.

 

“The Fiji officers are financially reluctant to come up here, as they have to pay nearly 20% more tax, than in Fiji.

 

“They cannot claim anything like the tax deductions for spouses, children, that they can in Fiji. Technical help from ashore is almost non-existent. Pacrovers main radar was r/s for nearly 8 months and when I was on Petnav, we had to pack a radar up, complete, for repair in Aust.

 

“All of it adds up leaving one very depressed, and a dedicated calendar-watcher (how soon until I get-out-of-here syndrome).

 

“Please do not consider the above as a diatribe of complaints. I do so in a genuine attempt to describe conditions. If someone wishes to throw rocks - I have twice volunteered to do tours up here, and will continue to do so.

 

“I firmly believe in taking my turn in this third world toilet of a country.

 

”The captain’s comments drew the ire of the PNG Maritime Workers Industrial Union, Mobil Oil, the PNG Maritime College, and Steamships Trading, the Lae agent for Dilmun Navigation (PNG) Ltd who were attempting deportation procedures against him until Dilmun defused the situation by immediately replacing him with a Fijian captain at the weekend. The replaced captain had been in the country for only nine weeks.

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