Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian International Shipping Register (AISR)

How to Register

For details on conditions of registration, how to register your vessel and how to maintain a registration on the AISR, read the Guide to the Registration of a Ship on the Australian International Shipping Register.

Note: This guide is advisory only and is designed to provide a link between the different elements of the relevant legislation. It should not be relied upon solely and interested partied are advised that they need to consult the legislation when considering registration.

Details on the fees for registration are available here.

Who is eligible to Register on the AISR?

The AISR provides a competitive alternative to other International  Ship Registers and is available to Australian companies that own or operate ships. 
Eligibility for entry on to the AISR is that ships are at least 24 metres in tonnage length and are either:

a) trading ships that are Australian-owned ships;
b) trading ships that are wholly owned by Australian residents, or by Australian residents and Australian nationals;
c) trading ships that are operated solely by Australian residents, or by Australian nationals, or by both;
d) trading ships that are on demise charter to Australian based operators.

Subsection 3(1) of the Shipping Registration Act 1981 provides definitions of ‘Australian owned ships’ and ‘Australian residents’. Companies that have not been incorporated in Australia do not meet these definitions.

Benefits of Registering on the AISR

Ships on the AISR have access to a range of tax incentives to ensure the register is competitive with open registers. The AISR also allows for alternate crew arrangements, intended to make Australian ownership competitive. The Register will maintain Australia’s international reputation for high quality maritime safety standards.

Tax incentives are managed by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD). More information is available on the DIRD website.

The Australian International Shipping Register aims to:

  • facilitate Australian participation in international trade;
  • provide an internationally competitive register to facilitate the long term growth of the Australian shipping industry; and
  • to promote the enhancement and viability of the Australian maritime skills base and the Australian shipping industry.

Consistent with the operation of other quality international registers, vessels on the International Register will be permitted to operate with mixed crews with the majority of officers and crew not required to be Australian citizens or residents. This reflects the global nature of shipping, with crew drawn from across the world. The Government has determined that at least two senior positions (engineering and deck officers) are to be filled by Australians. This reflects the policy intent to build the domestic maritime skills base, by providing an opportunity for Australians to gain the necessary international seafaring experience.

To ensure that the International Register is competitive, international labour terms and conditions will apply to seafarers working on board ships registered in the International Register while they are engaged in international trading. A minimum safety net is provided through the application of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), which Australian has ratified.

Other important information

As with the General register AMSA will regulate vessels on the AISR. The International Register will require vessel owners or operators to meet ownership requirements or provide evidence that the ship is being operated by an Australian entity under a demise charter.

Inclusion on the AISR will be a discretionary option for owners and operators (vessel would otherwise be registered on the General Register) AMSA will have the discretion to decide whether to permit a ship can be registered. This process is intended to ensure ships are of an appropriate standard.


For service on a ship registered in the AISR all seafarers who do not hold a primary certificate or certificate of recognition issued by AMSA must hold a certificate of equivalence (COE). A COE is only valid for service on a ship registered in the AISR. AMSA will only issue a COE to seafarers holding a certificate issued by an administration that has entered into a formal agreement with AMSA for recognition of certificates. See Guidance material on obtaining a COE.

Working conditions

Ships registered on the AISR are required to have a collective agreement with the seafarers bargaining unit. This agreement may be based on the ITF whole of crew collective agreement which is provided at the link below.

In addition the minimum wages and minimum requirement for compensation insurance have been established by ministerial determination. For links to these determinations visit the AMSA legislation page.


With the passage of the Shipping Registration Amendment (Australian International Shipping Register) Act 2012 revisions establishing the Australian International Shipping Register (AISR) under the Shipping Registration Act 1981 were adopted on Thursday 21 June 2012. The AISR formally came into existence on 1 July 2012.

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