Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian International Shipping Register (AISR)



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.

The AISR may provide for tax relief and will allow for alternate crew arrangements intended to make Australian ownership competitive. The qualifying conditions, changes to the Shipping Registration Act and associated legislation and regulatory impact statement are detailed in the links below:  has been established to provide a register that is a competitive alternative to other registers, and which is available to Australian companies that own or operate ships. The register will maintain Australia’s international reputation for high quality maritime safety standards. The purpose of this register is 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.

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.

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.

In addition ships on the AISR will have access to a range of tax incentives to ensure the register is competitive with open registers. These tax incentives are managed by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT). More information is available on the DIT website.

Guide to Registration

Information on how to register a ship on the AISR, the conditions of registration and how to maintain registration are contained in this guide to the registration of ships on the AISR.

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.   


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.

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