Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Organisational Structure


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) organisational structure consists of the AMSA Board, the Executive and seven operational and service areas:

  • Domestic Vessels
  • Search and Rescue
  • Marine Environment
  • Navigation Safety & International Relations
  • Ship Safety
  • Corporate Services

AMSA's head office is in Canberra and its principal offices in Brisbane, Queensland, Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria, Adelaide, South Australia and Fremantle, Western Australia. The Authority is structured into seven operational and service areas.


Management of AMSA is the responsibility of a nine member Board, including the Chief Executive Officer. Members are drawn from private industry and government and bring appropriate skills and expertise to the conduct of AMSA's important commercial and safety maritime activities.

More information on Board members


AMSA's Executive is made up of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Secretary and the seven General Managers.

Domestic Vessels

Domestic Vessels is responsible for administering the National System of Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety, in collaboration with State/Northern Territory maritime agencies. It is responsible for:

  • Developing and maintaining a suite of national standards and implementing these consistently
  • Implementing an operational safety culture in industry
  • Managing national arrangements for compliance, breach investigation, enforcement and prosecution under the National Law
  • Building national accreditation arrangements for Marine Surveyors and Registered Training Organisations
  • Conducting industry education and liaison
  • Improving service delivery arrangements to achieve uniformity

Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue is responsible for delivering national search and rescue coordination and marine pollution response services, which involve:

  • Providing a 24 hour Rescue Coordination Centre servicing the internationally agreed Australian Search and Rescue Region for the aviation and maritime sectors.
  • Assuming coordination of maritime and aviation search and rescue incidents.
  • Providing a maritime distress and safety communications network that meets the requirements of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and also can be used by suitably equipped non-SOLAS vessels.
  • Administering a ship reporting system that identifies and tracks ships at sea as a safety measure and provides a database of ships that may be in a position to respond to an emergency.
  • Providing training and specialist search and rescue equipment to selected general aviation operators designated as Search and Rescue Units (SRUs) around Australia.
  • Contributing to international and national issues of significance concerning aviation and maritime search and rescue activities, maintaining and enhancing strategic relationships and increasing public awareness of maritime safety issues.
  • Providing a maritime safety communications network that broadcasts and receives safety and navigation information to and from ships at sea.

Marine Environment

Marine Environment is responsible for preventing pollution of the marine environment and responding quickly and efficiently to maritime casualties and marine pollution incidents that occur from shipping, offshore production or any other source. This involves:

  • providing effective pollution response services consistent with international obligations, regional arrangements and Inter-Governmental Agreements, such as the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies (the National Plan);
  • providing effective enforcement and compensation regimes that give effect to international obligations;
  • providing effective management of maritime casualties, through a Maritime Emergency Response Commander (MERCOM);
  • actively participating in key stakeholder forums, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, to progress strategic management and operational issues;
  • promoting effective public awareness campaigns; and
  • maximising technological advancements to improve our marine pollution response capabilities.

Navigation Safety & International Relations

Navigation Safety & International Relations is responsible for providing strategic advice and operational oversight on maritime safety matters and associated environmental and navigational issues, which involves:

  • Representing Australia in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the development, implementation and enforcement of international standards governing ship safety, navigation, ship operations, maritime security, crew competency, training and fatigue management.
  • Developing Australia's maritime regulatory framework based upon these international standards and contemporary safety management systems primarily through the making of subordinate legislation, Marine Orders, under the Commonwealth Navigation Act 2012.
  • Promulgating policy and guidelines for the discharge of the range of powers and functions allocated to AMSA under relevant Commonwealth legislation, relating to ship construction standards, ship survey and safety, crewing, seafarers' qualifications and welfare, occupational health and safety, carriage and handling of cargoes and passengers.
  • Providing the national network of integrated aids to navigation and coastal traffic management measures that meet the requirements of commercial shipping for safe and efficient coastal navigation.
  • Participating in the development and application of international navigation safety policy and standards, principally through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

Ship Safety

Ship Safety is responsible for monitoring ship, crew and coastal pilot compliance with maritime safety standards, which involves:

  • Conducting inspections of ships, cargoes and related equipment to monitor compliance with standards for the condition of ships, compliance with operational, occupational health and safety and coastal pilotage requirements and the correct handling and loading of certain cargoes.
  • Monitoring compliance by Australian flag ships and their operators with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.
  • Exercising rights under international conventions to inspect foreign flag ships visiting Australian ports through the port State control program to monitor their compliance with international standards.
  • Participating in regional forums to promote consistency in port State control standards and exchange of ship inspection data with neighbouring countries.
  • Providing occupational health and safety inspectorate services under the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993.
  • Ensuring safety training and maritime qualifications of crew on ships operating under the Navigation Act 2012 meet the standards of the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 95) Convention.
  • Administering the licensing system for coastal pilots and safety regulation of coastal pilotage services under the Navigation Act 2012.
  • Manages the Australian Register of Ships delivering ship registration services for the commercial shipping, fishing and boating sectors.

Office of Legal Counsel and Office of Legislative Drafting

Provides legal and legislative drafting services to AMSA.

Corporate Services

Corporate Services provides common support services to AMSA, including financial management, human resources, property and business services, performance and reporting, information technology and records management.

Corporate Services also manages AMSA's corporate communication and stakeholder engagement, including media liaison; marketing and events, ministerial, parliamentary and government liaison, and web, publishing and multimedia.

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