Coastal pilotage exemptions

A master or owner of a vessel may apply for an exemption from the requirement to navigate a vessel with a licensed pilot in a compulsory pilotage area

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The embarkation of an AMSA-licensed coastal pilot in parts of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait is one of the key management measures used to protect particularly sensitive sea areas from shipping risks such as collisions, groundings and oil spills.
Pilotage has been mandatory within the Great Barrier Reef since 1991 and within the Torres Strait - Great North East Channel (GNEC) since 2006. In accordance with the Navigation Act 2012 (the Nav Act), ships over 70m in length, loaded oil tankers, loaded chemical carriers and loaded liquefied gas carriers (irrespective of length) are required to embark an AMSA-licensed coastal pilot when transiting any of the compulsory pilotage areas described below:

  • Torres Strait
  • The Great North East Channel (GNEC)
  • The Inner Route* (from Cape York to Cairns) 
  • Hydrographers Passage* 
  • The Whitsundays* (Whitsunday Passage, Whitsunday Group and Lindeman Group). 

Pilotage is separately and additionally required under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (GBRMP Act) for applicable vessels operating in any of the pilotage areas marked with (*) above. Each pilotage area is defined in Marine Order 54 (Coastal pilotage) 2014 (MO54) and/or the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983. These areas are depicted at Attachment A.

Last updated: 

Thursday 11 March 2021