Under the provisions of the Australia-PNG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Transport Cooperation, in 2015 we completed two assessments of the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority’s (NMSA) ability to fulfil its statutory duties relating to search and rescue, ship and navigation safety, marine pollution prevention and response, and PNG’s maritime legislation framework.
Recommendations from the two reports highlighted a number of opportunities for improvement. Discussions are now underway with the NMSA on where we may be able to provide further capacity building assistance in 2016-17. Two key areas currently being considered include:
We also provided assistance to PNG with the development of a submission to the IMO to establish a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in the Milne Bay Province of PNG. An information paper was presented to the 69th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
We continued to provide support and assistance to Indonesia through the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package (ITSAP). ITSAP is a partnership program between the Australian Government and the Government of Indonesia and delivered under a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Indonesia on Cooperation in the Transport Sector. AMSA is responsible for two programs under ITSAP – search and rescue and ship safety.
Search and rescue
The search and rescue (SAR) elements of the package are delivered in partnership with Indonesia’s national SAR agency (BASARNAS). Mutual staff exchanges, technical assistance and improvements to operational capabilities occurred under the search and rescue element of the program. A joint SARMAP drift modelling system was delivered during the year, which now provides Indonesia with the capability to effectively predict drift patterns of objects in the water. With our assistance, Indonesia established a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (command centre) bringing together maritime, aviation and urban search and rescue in February 2016.
Ship safety elements of ITSAP are delivered in partnership with Indonesia’s Directorate General of Sea Transportation (DGST). Our work in ensuring the effective implementation of, and compliance with, Indonesia’s Non Convention Vessel Standards has been a major milestone and is ongoing. During the year we assisted Indonesia with establishing an IALA-approved Vessel Traffic Services training facility. IALA has agreed to host a workshop in Indonesia on VTS communications in February 2017. We also provided assistance to the DGST with the development of a management system for marine pilotage.
Australia is the Secretariat for the Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies forum (APHoMSA). The 17th session of APHoMSA was held in Queenstown, New Zealand from
14-17 March 2016. This session was attended by 55 delegates who represented 20 of APHoMSA’s 23 members, as well as observers from the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), IMO, IALA, the Pacific Community, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
This year the forum enjoyed increased participation from women and Pacific Island members, thanks to generous funding received under the IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Program. A record 35 papers were considered by members and observers, generating wide-ranging discussion. Members agreed to add a number of items including fishing vessel safety, the importance of hydrography and reducing marine debris to the 2016 APHoMSA Work Plan, and to establish three intersessional correspondence groups to develop a regional approach on domestic vessel safety, implementation of IMO conventions and safe carriage of cargo.
We work closely with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to maximise the ability of small island neighbouring states to ensure ships visiting ports and transiting South Pacific waters are seaworthy, have competent crews, and are able to safely navigate through sensitive marine areas. As well as an active program of information exchange, we participated in meetings such as:
In May 2016 the Regional Reception Facilities Plan for Small Island Developing States in the Pacific Region entered into force. The plan aims to reduce marine pollution in the Pacific region by enabling SPREP Member States to improve compliance with the requirements of MARPOL. We provided assistance by conducting waste reception facility assessments in Apia, Suva, Port Moresby, Noumea and Papeete as part of the plan’s development.
As part of the Australian Government’s Partnerships for Development (GPFD) program, we were granted $2.6 million over three years to work with the Governments of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Mauritius to strengthen their search and rescue (SAR) services to enable more effective response to maritime and aviation distress situations in each of their SAR areas. The benefits also extend to enhancing overall SAR capability in the three SAR regions which adjoin the Australian Search and Rescue Region in the remote north-west of the Indian Ocean.
The program, titled the Search and Rescue Capability Partnership Program (SCPP), commenced in January 2015 and has seen us conclude ‘SAR Capability Assessments’ of each country’s SAR system, the visit to AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra of two senior SAR officers from each partner country, and the development of three-year implementation plans.
The program will continue to deliver a range of capacity building activities in each country, including SAR exercises, foundation training courses and implementation of a communication system (e-broadcast) to provide countries with the ability to communicate with ships transiting through their area.
The program is scheduled to continue until June 2018.
In December 2015 we concluded a three-year capacity building program with the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Port State Control (PSC) to improve the application of PSC procedures in the region. The Indian Ocean region is vitally important to Australia and, as more ships transit the area accommodating increased trade in goods and services, improving ship safety is imperative to the environmental sustainability of the region.
The final two activities of the program were held during 2015-16:
We have a strong program of bilateral engagement with a number of Australia’s major trading partners, including China, Republic of Korea and Japan in recognition that they are important for Australia in terms of a regional network of port State control and ensuring the quality of ships which most regularly come to and from Australia. We constantly discuss issues of mutual interest with major trading partners, with our neighbours and other regional countries of significance to Australia’s maritime safety interests.
Our Maritime Professional Development Program ran for three weeks from 19 October to 6 November 2015. The purpose of the program is to share operational practices and policy approaches with participants from counterpart agencies in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
Eight participants from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Korea and Oman attended the 2015 program. The program offered two formal training streams – Port State Control and Marine Environment Protection and Pollution Response.