Sealord’s NZ-flagged BATM fishing vessel Professor M Aleksandrov at Port Nelson.(Photo: courtesy Stuff)
Tied-up fishing boats signal overseas worker crisis for industry
Monday, September 21, 2020, 00:10 (GMT + 9)
The following is an excerpt from a Stuff article:
One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have begun tying up vessels.
At least three New Zealand-flagged big autonomous trawler reefer (BATM) deepwater vessels associated with Canterbury-based Independent fisheries have been tied up at Lyttleton as it repatriated its Russian and Ukranian crew following the end of their visa periods.
Nelson-based fishing company Sealord is likely to follow suit by October 1 with its Ukrainian and Russian crews of Meridian and Profesor Aleksandrov heading home after working in New Zealand since November.
Aerial photograph of Port Nelson with the Sealord site, centre.(Credit: courtesy Martin de Ruyter/Stuff)
Sealord now urgently needed 160 skilled fishers to crew the two vessels.
Independent fisheries chief executive Mark Allison said his company had been in negotiations with the government since April to allow more crew into New Zealand.
He said there had been “very little response” from government ministers, despite working closely with the Ministry of Immigration, MBIE and MPI to find a solution.
Work going on with ships being loaded and unloaded in the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch.(Credit: courtesy Joseph Johnson /Sutff)
As a result, the company was effectively out of business until they can get crew into New Zealand, Allison said, with the situation costing tens of millions of dollars.
Sealord chief operating officer Doug Paulin was “greatly concerned” at the potential loss of Kiwi jobs and revenue for the country if border exemptions are not granted for trained overseas fishing crews.
It is understood that the situation could cost the national economy NZ$725 million (US $ 490M) with 425 land-based jobs also at stake.(continued...)
Author: Tim O'Connell / The Stuff | Read the rest of the story by clicking the link here