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Inspectors reportedly denied access to Cement Australia ship

Inspectors claim they were denied access to a ship loaded with cargo from Cement Australia.

The International Transport Workers' Federation tried to board the ship yesterday when it was docked in Gladstone only to be told the crew was "too busy".

This vessel, Unity, has caught the Federation's attention because the Greek owned bulk carrier, sailing under a Panama flag, hasn't left Australian waters for at least the past month.

Mr Summers is concerned this ship is regularly trading within Australia, but because it isn't registered here sailors aren't getting Australian minimum wages.

Mr Summers is determined to have an inspector board the ship when it docks in Brisbane on Thursday.

"We won't be dissuaded from our duties. We will get on board and find out what's going on."

The International Transport Workers' Federation union regularly inspects ship to ensure conditions for the crew on board meet Australian standards. 

Although it's owned by Greek company Cosmos, it flies the flag of Panama, an arrangement which can enable companies to avoid adhering workplace regulations.

Last year, the Federal Government launched a senate inquiry into the use of 'flag of convenience' ships -known in the industry as the cheap option -after three deaths on a Japanese owned ship The Sage Sagittarius hauling coal between Australia and Japan.

The senate report is due to be handed down next month. There were 24 submissions including from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection which says the use of 'flag of convenience' ships are more attractive for use in illegal activities.

The submission also states that these ships, with complex financial and ownership arrangements can be shrouded in secrecy making it difficult to hold anyone to account for injuries and deaths on board.

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