In 2015-16, our engagement activities targeted the diverse range of domestic commercial vessel (DCV) stakeholders that come under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (National System).
Our domestic engagement is heavily focused on being accessible to industry, offering information in plain English and collaborating with industry to identify areas of the regulations that can be improved. The challenge for us is to ensure the information provided to these stakeholders is accurate, timely and available through a variety of channels. With these objectives in mind, engagement activities target different parts of the extremely varied and geographically dispersed domestic vessel industry in the following ways.
AMSA Connect (AMSA’s contact centre) commenced in June 2015, with the objective of centralising our major customer-service functions.
During the past year AMSA Connect has evolved to deliver phone and email services for the AMSA switchboard, National System, ship safety certifications and beacon registration enquiries.
Over the past 12 months AMSA Connect:
We have increased face-to-face interaction with industry through a network of liaison officers in each state and territory.
Our liaison officers provide a crucial link with industry and supplement our web presence, information on regulatory matters, events and consultations. They have a deep knowledge of the maritime industry in their regions and work closely with industry bodies, state services, organisations and individual seafarers to provide information, support and promote safety. They also provide feedback from industry to help us improve our services.
To improve safety awareness and the safety culture in the DCV industry, we conducted risk and safety management workshops on how to develop, implement and maintain an effective safety management system. In 2015-16, we held around 100 workshops across the country with a total of around 1700 attendees.
Over the last year our Working Boats magazine has evolved to offer a wider range of information about Australia’s DCV industry and how it reflects the regulatory and cultural standards set by AMSA.
In addition to the monthly Domestic Vessels e-newsletter, we launched a new publication targeting Accredited Marine Surveyors ― Survey Matters. Survey Matters is an important means of keeping AMSA-accredited marine surveyors updated on the latest regulatory changes, issues and trends and is disseminated bi-monthly.
In early 2016 we published (online and in hard copy) the first five of a suite of fact sheets which explain regulatory requirements in plain English about the National System, general safety duties, safety management systems, the Certificate of Operation, and boat sharing.
During 2015-16 social media became a more strategic engagement tool. Planned social media campaigns are now implemented to support broader communication and engagement strategies on specific topics.
The Maritime Agencies Forum (MAF) consists of the marine safety agencies which are currently our delegates under the National System and plays an important role in the system’s strategic oversight. In 2015-16 we consulted with MAF regarding the preparation of systems and functions to deliver regulatory services from 1 July 2017.
Our principal consultative body with the maritime sector is the AMSA Advisory Committee, comprised of industry leaders from the shipping, offshore and fishing industries, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the largest maritime trade union, the Royal Australian Navy, and other relevant Australian Government agencies. The committee met twice during 2015–16.
The Domestic Commercial Vessel Industry Advisory Committee leads our consultation with this important sector. This committee meets bi-annually (or as required) to provide a consultation forum for AMSA and members of Australia’s DCV industry, in particular Class 1 (passenger, carrying more than 12 passengers) and Class 2 (non-passenger carrying up to 12 passengers) vessel operators and boat builders.
During the past 12 months we have consulted with members of the committee regarding vessel safety and operational matters, upcoming regulatory activities and proposals. In turn, the members have provided advice and feedback to us about regulatory proposals, relevant issues affecting industry, and assisted us to communicate with the DCV industry.
The Fishing Industry Advisory Committee (FIAC) meets bi-annually (or as required) to provide a consultation forum between us and members of Australia’s commercial fishing industry about vessel safety and operational matters. During the past 12 months we have consulted with members of FIAC regarding vessel safety and operational matters, upcoming regulatory activities and proposals. In turn, the members have provided advice and feedback to us about regulatory proposals, relevant issues affecting industry and assisted us to communicate with the fishing industry.
To enhance cooperation and information-sharing on marine debris, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tangaroa Blue in May 2016.
Tangaroa Blue is an Australian-registered charity that coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI), a network of community groups and government agencies focused on reducing the amount of marine debris. While the majority of marine debris comes from land-based sources, preventing waste discharge from ships is a key focus for us in environmental protection.
We will continue to work with Tangaroa Blue, sharing publications and data on shipping traffic, relevant outcomes of IMO and accessing the Australian Marine Debris Database to inform our implementation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships (MARPOL).