AMSA update—2023 editions

Read the latest news from AMSA

Gold Christmas bauble with a blue background

AMSA update December 2023

In this edition:

Happy holidays from AMSA — shutdown dates

Happy holidays to all domestic commercial vessel owners, operators and crew. We look forward to another year of safe and clean seas in 2024. 

AMSA will be closed from 5:00 pm Friday 22 December 2023, re-opening on Tuesday 2 January 2024. 

We will have limited phone and email services available between 27 and 29 December to assist people with urgent applications for exemptions, certificates of survey, and certificates of operation. 

If your matter is not urgent, please contact us from 2 January 2024 when we return to our full services. Our search and rescue team will continue to operate every day (24/7) during this time. 

Future emergency response vessel secured for Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef

AMSA has awarded Smit Lamnalco, a world leader in marine towage and support services, a 10-year AUD$196 million contract for AMSA’s first-response emergency towage capability in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef.   

Smit Lamnalco will be providing an enhanced capability for emergency response which will be bigger, more powerful, faster and more fuel efficient than AMSA’s current capability, the Coral Knight, which comes to the end of its contract in June 2024.   

The new vessel will be well placed to respond to maritime casualties involving bigger and heavier merchant ships transiting Australian waters.  

The new vessel will also be more fuel efficient than its predecessor, the Coral Knight, with a hybrid propulsion system that allows the power generation system to be optimised for the desired operational profile and speed. Consideration has also been given in the design stage for the use of methanol as an alternative future fuel source which aligns with the global push to reduce emissions and decarbonise shipping. 

Follow us on social media for updates about this exciting new era of safe and clean seas, and saving lives. 

A new model for maintenance delivery 

For the last 33 years, AMSA has been the dutiful custodian of about 480 aids to navigation which form part of a much bigger Australian network collaboratively managed with the states and territories, which safeguards the lives of seafarers, our precious seas and coastlines. 

Some are iconic heritage listed lighthouses, others are buoys and beacons. All are managed using specialist contractors, underpinned by our own in-house expertise.  

A recent approach to market to continue with a single national contract for maintenance did not result in AMSA awarding a contract, but did provide us with an unexpected opportunity to re-evaluate, build and diversify our maintenance delivery model.   

This new model will take a regional approach to critical infrastructure services such as outage response and essential maintenance, with multiple contracts to be on offer via Austender in the New Year. Trade business owners are encouraged to register for notifications on AusTender now. In addition, and separately, we will also have a contract on offer for centralised technical support and logistics.  

Australia re-elected into IMO Council 

On 1 December, in London, Australia secured its position in Category B of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council for the 2024-25 biennium, reaffirming our pivotal role in shaping the future of global shipping for Australia and our region. 

Bringing a vessel to Australia or going on an overseas voyage

If you are considering bringing a vessel to Australia or taking a domestic commercial vessel on an overseas voyage there are certain Australian standards and regulations you need to meet.  
Transferring a regulated Australian vessel to a domestic commercial vessel (DCV), or vice versa, takes time and involves both AMSA and AMSA-appointed recognised organisations (RO).   

Our new instructions provide vessel owners and operators step-by-step guidance on four common scenarios:  

  • bringing a vessel that is overseas to Australia  
  • a DCV undertaking a one-time overseas voyage 
  • a DCV intending to operate commercially overseas on an ongoing basis 
  • a RAV no longer intending to operate on international voyages. 

Research identifies gaps in induction training

The Office of Transport Safety Investigations recently commissioned research that identified a potential safety risk around the lack of effective and hands-on induction training of casual crew on domestic commercial vessels (DCVs). Induction training that covers duties, key operations of the vessel and emergency procedures is critical for everyone’s safety onboard. It’s also now a legal requirement.     
Visit the Office of Transport Safety Investigations website to learn about the key findings from this research and recommendations for improving safety practices.

Australian tugboat responders honoured by IMO for bravery

The three crew members of the SL Diamantina, who saved 21 lives and averted an environmental disaster in July 2022, have received an Exceptional Bravery at Sea commendation from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Supporting seafarer welfare at the DCN Awards

AMSA was again proud to support the annual Daily Cargo News Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry Awards in recognition of the vital role seafarers play in the shipping industry. The 2023 Awards were held in Sydney on 15 November, where our CEO, Mick Kinley, had the honour of presenting the Seafarers Welfare Award to the Port Community of Port Kembla.  

John Kewa from Mission to Seafarers Port Kembla, and Peter Ernst from Port Authority of NSW, accepted the Award on behalf of the Port Community of Port Kembla, who donated an unsolicited $80,000 to replace the Mission to Seafarers Port Kembla minibus after it was written off in an accident. 

Consultation feedback reports

These reports provide an overview of the consultation process, key issues raised during public consultation and the key changes to the marine orders.  

Monthly domestic commercial vessel incident report

A vessel collided with multiple other vessels following a gearbox failure, and a crew member sustained serious injury while setting cray pots. These are some of the occurrences included in the latest incident report.   
During October 2023, there were 92 reported incidents involving domestic commercial vessels. Of these, 27 were serious and 2 were very serious. 

Passenger seriously injured after falling down stairwell

This month’s safety lesson report highlights the importance of conducting risk assessments for areas on vessels that may present a safety risk. Appropriate control measures help protect passengers and crew. 

Every month we share an overview of a domestic commercial vessel incident investigation and the safety lesson you can learn to ensure safe operations on board your vessel. 

Follow us for 12 days of AMSA photos 

This festive season, we’re sharing 12 photos our staff have captured in the course of their work this year.  

Every day, AMSA staff interact with people and places in and around Australia’s beautiful marine environments. Follow our #12DaysOfAMSAPhotos campaign on Facebook and LinkedIn to see all the photos; and stay subscribed for all the latest updates.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season. 

Last updated: 

Wednesday 31 January 2024