Service Delivery Changes

Transport Ministers representing all states and territories decided in November 2014 that AMSA will assume responsibility for full delivery of services and funding for domestic commercial vessels by July 2019, with a 2-year transition period commencing in July 2017.

A nationally delivered service presents real and substantial benefits to the domestic maritime industry and the Australian economy, with a focus on reducing regulatory burden and rewarding good safety management. It will also make it possible to implement a modern risk-based regulatory safety scheme that is consistently applied across Australia.

We have commenced working to design, build, test and implement new arrangements in a planned and coordinated manner for their introduction in 2017. The costs for this work will not be recovered from the domestic commercial vessel sector.

For commercial vessel operators, this means nothing will change immediately. Regulatory services will continue to be delivered by state maritime agencies acting as our delegates, including the administration of certificates, on-water compliance and regulatory investigation. They will also continue to set charges and collect fees for these services. AMSA remain responsible for the development of standards and maintenance of regulations. Ahead of transition to full service delivery on a national level in 2019, there will be consultation with industry.

While there will be structured public consultation mechanisms in place about any changes to regulatory services, we would welcome your feedback at any time about matters related to your operations via email or phone 02 6279 5000 (select option 3). We also encourage you to register your details via the AMSA website to receive more information relevant to domestic commercial vessels.

Making the rules easier to understand

In an effort to simplify the Domestic Commercial Vessel Manual, AMSA released a draft of the first two parts for public comment in January. The draft sets out the requirements for Hire Vessels and non-survey vessels (NSCV Part G).

As a result, AMSA is releasing new drafts for consultation, along with an amendment to Marine Order 503, to improve readability and application of the document.

Changes include:

  • Language in the document has been simplified and content re-arranged
  • Required outcomes from the standard have been moved into Marine Order 503
  • The solutions for surveyed leisure craft vessels have been contained in one part of the manual, and the second part applies to all non-survey vessels in Class 2, 3 and 4.

The drafts will be made available on AMSA’s consultation page shortly for further comment. This page also contains the comments on the previous consultation version.

AMSA will continue to take this user friendly approach to its review of standards.

Fishing Industry Advisory Committee

The inaugural Fishing Industry Advisory Committee meeting was held in Hobart in May.

The aim of the Committee is to provide a consultation forum between AMSA and members of the commercial fishing industry for vessel safety and operational matters.

The meeting gave AMSA the opportunity to inform members of regulatory activity related to the National System, whilst Committee members provided updates about their local industry and discussed relevant regulations.

Advisory groups play a critical part in developing new and amended standards, and it assists the consultation process significantly if proposals are tested on a small group of commercial fishing representatives, who cover the broad spectrum of fishing industry operations.

The biannual meetings will play a key role in the relevance of safety standards and regulations that aim toaddress risks associated with commercial fishing vessel operations

Regulatory Update for Domestic Commercial Vessels – Thursday Island

More than a dozen people attended a National System information session held on Thursday Island on 2nd July. Those attending included representatives from the Torres Strait Regional Authority, VMR Thursday Island, transport operators, fishermen and Australian Reef Pilots representatives.

The attendees were given an update on the operation of the National System by AMSA’s Manager (Liaison) Keith Brightman, who also explained the practical difference that AMSA’s focus on red tape reduction and a “trust and verify” model should mean for their organisations.

After the session, attendees also had a chance to ask questions of Keith, AMSA’s Thursday Island based Senior Program Adviser Shaun Skerritt, and Maritime Safety Queensland’s Antonio Dorante.

There was particular interest in the application of the National Law to TIBs, or traditional inhabitant boats – under the National Law, a person does not need to hold the certificates they normally would to operate a vessel, provided they meet the training and other requirements set out in the National Law exemption that deals with traditional fishing.

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) supporting industry to develop Safety Management Systems (SMS)

FRDC is providing funding to the commercial vessel industry, to attend risk management and SMS workshops to help meet the National Standard for Commercial Vessels, Part E Operations.

The FRDC is offering grants to eligible applicants that face particular challenges in accessing these programs, possibly due to location, timing, English language proficiency, or sector specific operations. The grant is designed to target the operational level of industry, with activities targeted to fishing vessels (class 3B, 3C, 3D and 3E) and trading vessels (classes 2B, 2C, 2D and 2E) operating as charter fishing vessels, with a particular emphasis on small vessel operators.

Eligible applicants must be:

• Industry associations on behalf of members;

• Fishing enterprises where planned activities benefit a group of operators/enterprises; and

• Training/service providers delivering SMS training to the target group.

For additional information regarding the FRDC grant process or to submit an expression of interest, click here.  Expressions of interest close 1 August 2015.

Vietnamese Fishing Safety Management Systems Workshop

AMSA is holding a Vietnamese Fishing Safety Management Systems Workshop in Newcastle on Friday 28 August 2015 at the University of Newcastle. The session will commence at 8:30am and will finish at 3:00pm. The session will include discussion around establishing and improving Safety Management Systems (SMS), meeting the new requirements of National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part E, and improving ability to implement a risk assessment.

For more information or to register your interest, please contact via email or phone 02 6279 5000 (select option 3).


– Domestic Vessel e-News