Investigation of domestic commercial vessel marine incidents

We collect and analyse information from reported marine incidents to improve safety across the maritime industry.

From 1 July 2018 domestic commercial vessel operators are required to report marine incidents to AMSA, instead of reporting to state or territory marine safety agencies.

We analyse data from marine incident reports to develop more effective standards, safety strategies, and advice for owners, operators and seafarers—to help avoid similar incidents in the future.

To make sure appropriate control measures are being implemented on domestic commercial vessels and prevent re-occurrence of incidents, we may use information provided to us to:

  • Support our educational activities, regulatory change or further investigation.
  • Inform our monitoring and enforcement activities.

When we investigate

We determine the appropriate response to each marine incident on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not an investigation occurs is determined by factors including:

  • Existence and extent of fatalities/serious injuries.
  • Anticipated safety value of an investigation, including the likelihood of improving the understanding of the scope and impact of any safety system failures.
  • Impact of the incident on the public, in particular the potential impact on public confidence in the safety of domestic commercial vessels.
  • Impact on the environment.
  • Likelihood of safety or regulatory action arising from the investigation.
  • Relevance to an identified or targeted safety or compliance program.
  • Timeliness of marine incident notification.
  • The need to deter the behaviour that led to the incident.
  • Resource availability.

In some cases, we may conduct a limited fact-finding investigation or no investigation at all.

Who investigates

A marine incident investigation may be carried out by:

  • AMSA staff
  • our compliance partners from other state, territory, or Australian Government agencies on our behalf.

All investigating staff will have the appropriate authorisations and will carry photographic identification. The identification will state the powers that can be exercised.

How we use investigation findings

We may use the findings from investigations to:

  • Inform our understanding of risk and the safety and compliance culture in the domestic commercial vessel industry.
  • Inform industry education and awareness programs, and changes to regulatory instruments or standards.
  • Add to our existing data for ongoing analysis.

We may publish the findings of investigations as:

Related information

Last updated: 4 January 2021