CSL-Yarra DisputePrint Page Print this page

The Memorial was erected to commemorate the 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: -33.177088
Long: 138.010484
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2015
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design