Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian International Shipping Register (AISR)

How to register your vessel

This page will tell you if you are eligible to register your vessel on the Australian international shipping register and other information.   

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

Are you eligible to register on the AISR?

The AISR is 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:

  • Trading ships that are Australian-owned ships
  • Trading ships that are wholly owned by Australian residents, or by Australian residents and Australian nationals
  • Trading ships that are operated solely by Australian residents, Australian nationals, or both
  • Trading ships that are on demise charter to Australian based operators.

You can find the definitions of Australian owned ships and Australian residents under Subsection 3(1) of the Shipping Registration Act 1981. Companies that have not been incorporated in Australia don’t meet these definitions.

What are the benefits of registering?

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). You can find more information 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.
  • To promote the enhancement and viability of the Australian maritime skills base and the Australian shipping industry.

As with other international registers, vessels on the international register can 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.

The international register is competitive, with international labour terms and conditions that apply to seafarers working on board registered ships 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 Australia has ratified.


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 can be based on the ITF whole of crew collective agreement which is provided at the link below.

The minimum wage and minimum requirement for compensation insurance have been established by ministerial determination. You can find these determinations by visiting the AMSA legislation page.

Other important information

AMSA regulates vessels on the international and general register. 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. A 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 to ensure ships meet appropriate standards.


The international shipping register came into effect on 1 July 2012. Revisions to the Shipping Registration Amendment (Australian International Shipping Register) Act 2012 established the Australian International Shipping Register (AISR) under the Shipping Registration Act 1981. These were adopted on Thursday 21 June 2012.

Shipping registration fees

Fees can be paid by cheque, credit card or direct deposit.

For the fees that apply to each transaction, see the schedule of fees.

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