Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2020; In Committee
In relation to the question of the crew desertions, I will make two points. I will come to the identity, because I do have some further information for the chamber on that. But I would again counsel Labor against deliberately conflating two very separate issues. You've got the maritime crew visas, of which the two crew members mentioned were holders, and I understand those visas have now been cancelled. Again you are conflating it with the requirement for an MSIC. As Senator Seselja said yesterday, as I understand it, part of the port of Geelong is a secured area, but part of it is not. Regardless, any foreign crew need to have a visa. Through you, Chair: Senator Keneally can keep filibustering by being completely insulting to the minister, to the Prime Minister and to many others, but it does not change the fact that those opposite have had five years to consider this legislation, and endless filibustering does not make our ports any safer.
In relation to the detail of the incident that you raised, that of the Glorious Plumeria, the two crew that deserted over the weekend are Vietnamese nationals. At approximately 10 o'clock yesterday, ABF, VicPol and DHHS were notified that these two members were unaccounted for during their morning crew muster. ABF officers boarded the vessel to conduct the master's questionnaire and relevant ship search at approximately midday—just after midday. ABF officers cancelled or ceased the crew members' visas. The master advised the ABF that the crew were in possession of their passports, which they had obtained from the master's cabin, where the passports had been secured. The master advised that one of the missing crew cleans the master's cabin daily and noted that that was likely how he had obtained the two passports.
Investigations remain ongoing. Senator Keneally, your concern about the time it took the ABF to get back to the Geelong Advertiser is noted. But I would also note that their primary responsibility is to do exactly what they did yesterday: to work with VicPol and other relevant authorities to investigate this. Again, it is a valiant effort you are putting up to filibuster on this and to conflate these two issues, but they are two separate issues.