Letter from Matt Jepson


Letter to Members from Matt Jepson

Dear Members,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the British Fidelity
has delivered her last cargo to Australians. This means, the
Australian public have had their last drop of fuel for Australians, by

This is the end of a long era, an era of an Australian tanker fleet.
Yes, we can argue the fact of fuel security, and we are, but for today
let's remember our industry, the maritime industry, because it is now
missing a piece.

For some members, walking up the gangway of a tanker at a fuel
terminal is all they know, all they have ever done. For some of us, it
is a childhood memory. That smell, the sound, tankers have their own
unique identity.

I was recently talking with a friend about when I was a kid driving
around with my Dad trying to find a Caltex service station to fill up
the car. He laughed because he had the exact memory as a kid, his Dad
also worked for Caltex. Howard Smith, Caltex, Ampol, all fond memories
for our members and sadly just that, memories.

I don't need to tell you what's happening to our industry because you
know. We are under direct attack, the ships are going, the industry as
we know it is going, and with that our livelihoods, our hopes and
dreams that not that long ago were intact. It was only 10 years ago I
did a short stint in the offshore industry. When I was there, the
tankers and bulk carriers were called the 'bread and butter' jobs!
What a change 10 years makes.

The competition we face have no idea what this means to us. Our fuel
is coming in daily from countries such as Singapore, South Korea and
India on ships that have seafarers just like you and me but are
missing one thing.

Passion. Passion for an Australian industry, Australian jobs, jobs for
future Australians. In my family we have 115 years of proud passion to
this industry.

How many years at sea do we have amongst members? Are we done? Are we
finished? Hell no, we're not done.

But the struggle is now different, the ball has changed and so has the
court. It's not just us seafarers. Australian jobs are leaving our
shores and also under attack on our shores. My neighbour is CFMEU,
they have had to adapt and change the way they operate as we will

The Australian Maritime Officers Union will remain on two feet for our
members. We have a strong and passionate Executive Council who are
currently in Canberra and we will keep you updated on that progress.

The British Fidelity news hit me personally, as I have smelt that
smell and heard those noises only a tanker can make, both walking up
the gangway and as a childhood memory.

In unity,
Matt Jepson
AMOU Seafarers Delegate