Australian Left Review

Article Title

Alienation of Seafarers


Pat Mcdade


Seafarers on Australian ships whether coastal or overseas, today enjoy wages and conditions almost undreamt of a few decades ago. Wages are high; arduous work has either disappeared or is fast disappearing; accommodation aboard ship is good with single berth cabins; seafarers are much better protected from the weather than previously, being supplied free with oilskins and sometimes industrial clothing. Ships now have wheelhouses and look-out cabs, and with bridge and accommodation built together exposure is avoided going from one part of the ship to another. The number of working hours has decreased (in some cases considerably), and jobs are allocated by roster instead of choice from a line-up. Leave systems are as good as anywhere in the world, if not the best.