Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union

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The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced 27 July 2014.

Compulsory shipping lanes are designated channels in the ocean in which ships are allowed to sail.

Maritime Union National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the Rena grounding in 2011 has been followed by 35 “near miss” incidents and it is only a matter of time before another grounding occurs.

He says shipping lanes are an important measure to prevent this and exist in a number of maritime nations such as the UK, Norway and Canada.

“The large number of foreign flag of convenience vessels on the New Zealand coast together with the enormous pressure put on ships officers and crews for fast turnaround requires immediate action to prevent a future disaster.”

Mr Fleetwood says the Union believes the shipping lanes policy should be assured under a new Labour–Green Government.

He says the Maritime Union is also supporting the Green Party call for improved oil response capability by Maritime New Zealand.

“An increase in the Oil Pollution Levy on the industry is overdue to properly fund our ability to respond to problems.”

Mr Fleetwood says the Union has been calling for the introduction of a permanent fast response vessel funded by the oil and gas industry.

He says the Maritime Union supports the Green Party’s call for a stronger legal framework to recover costs from polluters in the event of an accidental oil spill.

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