…As Labor Party Pushes for Bipartisanship on Australian Shipping Policy***
Carnival Panorama, the new ship of cruise ship operator Carnival Cruise Line was launched at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Venice on December 6.
Interior fittings will now begin, leading the ship to its delivery, scheduled in autumn 2019. The new unit will be a sister ship of Carnival Vista, delivered in Monfalcone in April, 2016, as well as of Carnival Horizon, built in Marghera and delivered this year in March.
At 133,500 gross tons and 323 meters long, the new vessel will have 2,004 passenger cabins added up to the 770 of the crew, being able to accommodate more than 6,500 people onboard, including staff.
Fincantieri said that the units of the Vista class are a new technological benchmark, in Europe and worldwide, in terms of cutting-edge layout, extremely high performance and high quality technical solutions.
In addition to Carnival Panorama, Marghera shipyard has in its order book the second ship for the Costa Asia brand and the third Pinnacle class unit for Holland America Line, respectively scheduled to be delivered in 2020 and 2021.
In the meantime, Australian Labor Party has moved to establish a Senate inquiry into Australian shipping to build bipartisan support to reverse the ongoing decline of the nation’s maritime industry.
“It is time for all political parties to work with industry and employee representatives to end the policy inertia and collaborate to find an approach that will secure the future of Australian shipping,” a statement issued by Anthony Albanese, Labor MP for Grayndler and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Tourism, reads.
Over the past 30 years, the number of Australian-flagged vessels operating domestically and internationally has fallen from about 100 to 14, with resulting job losses and a decline in the country’s national skills base.
In July 2012, following extensive consultation with industry and unions, the former Labor Government attempted to revive shipping with a reform package including tax concessions and training assistance.
However, in 2013, the incoming Coalition Government took a new approach, proposing changes that would have destroyed the domestic shipping industry by allowing foreign vessels paying crews third world wages to compete with Australian vessels paying their crews Australian-level wages, according to the statement.
Since the Senate rejected that legislation in 2015, the Government has allowed the industry to drift, Albanese said.
As an island nation which relies on shipping to move 99 percent of its imports and exports, it said to be in Australia’s economic, environmental and national security interests to maintain a vibrant maritime industry.
The inquiry by the Senate’s Rural Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee offers an opportunity for the Parliament to put the national interest ahead of political considerations and find a way forward.
The inquiry will examine the policy, regulatory, taxation, administrative and funding priorities for Australian shipping.
New investment in Australian ships and building a maritime cluster in Australia;
Establishment of an efficient and commercially oriented coastal ship licensing system and foreign crew visa system;
Interaction with other modes of freight transport, non-freight shipping and government shipping;
Maritime security, including fuel security and foreign ship and crew standards;
Workforce development and the seafarer training system;
Port infrastructure, port services and port fees and charges; and any related matters.
World Maritime News