CSL Yarra DisputePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The bollard commemorates the CSL Yarra labour dispute and the role the Port Pirie Community played in supporting Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members in that dispute.

Seventeen seafarers aboard the CSL Yarra docked in Port Pirie, South Australia, began a sit-in on May 1, 2002 ,in an attempt to stop Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) replacing them with poorly paid Ukrainian labour.

Maritime unions were opposed to the sale of the bulk cement carrier to CSL's Asian subsidiary, CSL Pacific. The company re-registered the vessel in the Bahamas, which allowed it to operate on the Australian coast as a flag of convenience ship.CSL Pacific threatened legal action against the CSL Yarra's crew if they did not leave the vessel by 5pm on May 8.

The ship's engineers, members of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, complied. However, nine MUA members vowed to stay aboard and fight "for the continuing existence of the Australian merchant fleet".

The company's shipping agent shut off the ship's generators leaving the crew without electricity, water, refrigeration, working toilets, air-conditioning and cooking facilities. The agent was subsequently trapped on the Port Pirie dock for hours by a union picket line. The Port Pirie community helped the crew survive by providing food.

With the support of the Port Pirie community the dispute was successful and MUA members sailed the vessel out of Port Pirie. Unfortunately the end came a few short months later. 

The incident sparked a High Court appeal which ruled Australian industrial relations laws apply to foreign ships and crews working in local waters.






Address:Ellen & Alexander Streets, City Park, adjacent Council Chambers, Port Pirie, 5540
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.177142
Long: 138.010798
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government
Approx. Event Start Date:May-2002
Approx. Event End Date:May-2002


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2015
Front Inscription

The Maritime Union of Australia dedicates this memorial bollard to the people of Port Pirie as a symbol of their strength, support and solidarity to the crew of the CSL Yarra.

The CSL Yarra crew bravely occupied the ship in Port Pirie for 16 days in May 2002, with incredible support from the Port Pirie community, in a fight to retain an Australian crew and help preserve the Australian Merchant Industry

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au