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It's a ship that has carried tonnes of steel slabs each year from Port Kembla in Wollongong to the Western Port in Hastings in Southern Victoria, but today is its final journey.
The Bluescope-owned bulk carrier has been sold and 650,000 tonnes per year of hot rolled coil will now been transported from Wollongong to Victoria by rail in a deal between the steel manufacturer and rail group Pacific National.
The Southern branch of the New South Wales Maritime Union says the ship has been sold for somewhere between $4m and $5m, despite having a $17m upgrade last year.
But for the crew that has worked on the ship since it was built in 1973, its sale and final journey with an Australian crew to Singapore today is an emotional time.
Darcy Webb was one of the original crew members in 1973, and will also be one on board for its last trip from Port Kembla.
"I feel very saddened and disappointed that she's now leaving the coast and having a foreign crew on her when she's had a good Australian crew that's kept her running and on time," he said.
"For Bluescope she's done a sterling effort - I'm getting emotion about it, I'm sorry.
"For Wollongong she's been a very integral part of the steelworks and she's put millions into the economy and that's going to affect Wollongong."
Bluescope says the decision to sell the carrier was an economical one, and avoids having to again refit the ship to carry hot rolled coil.
Mr Webb said he would've preferred the ship be upgraded because it can carry more freight than a train.
Iron Monach seafarer Colin Johnston says the ship's sale will affect his family.
"I've spent 15 years on the vessel and I've had kids while I've been on the Monarch - they don't know any different from me getting home every four days to see them," he said.
The southern branch of the New South Wales Maritime Union of Australia secretary Garry Keane has been critical of Bluescope's decision to sell the Monarch.
He said the announcement was a 'kick in the guts' for Port Kembla maritime workers when Bluescope made the decision in January this year.
"For us, this is sad day and we don't believe it's a necessary situation - Bluescope spent $17m having it refitted 12 months ago and they're now selling it - economically it's an amazing situation and we think the decision to take coil by rail was wrong."
He's concerned the rail network won't be able to cope with the demand of 650,000 tonnes of hot rolled coil each year, which could lead to future shipping contracts with foreign ships and seafarers.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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