Our structure

Our structure gives you an idea of which area can help you when you get in touch.

Our organisational structure PDF137.26 KB is made up of the AMSA Board, the Executive team, and four operational and service areas:

  • Operations
  • Response
  • Policy and regulation
  • Corporate Services


Operations is responsible for ensuring that the domestic and international shipping community in Australia is safely operating in accordance with the regulatory frameworks – including Navigation Act 2012 and Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Act 2012.

These services include:

  • Conducting inspections of ships and vessels to ensure their equipment, operational arrangements, cargoes and crew qualifications are in compliance with international and national maritime and pollution prevention standards.
  • Providing guidance about occupational health and safety, coastal pilotage requirements and the correct handling and loading of certain cargoes.
  • Participating in regional forums to promote consistency in port State control standards and exchange of ship inspection data with neighboring countries.
  • Issuing safety training and maritime qualifications for crew on ships and domestic vessels in compliance with either the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 95) or Australia’s domestic maritime qualifications standards.
  • Administering the licensing system for coastal pilots and safety regulation of coastal pilotage services under the Navigation Act 2012.
  • Managing the Australian register of ships, delivering ship registration services for the commercial shipping, fishing and boating sectors.
  • Implementing an operational safety culture in industry.
  • Managing national arrangements for maritime compliance under both the Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Act 2012 and Navigation Act 2012.
  • Building and delivering national accreditation arrangements for marine surveyors and some registered training organisations delivering maritime training.
  • Conducting industry education and liaison.
  • Improving service delivery arrangements to achieve uniformity.


Response provides a national search and rescue service to the maritime and aviation sectors. We also prevent and combat ship-sourced pollution in the marine environment. We provide infrastructure to support safety of navigation in Australian waters, and aviation and surface assets in support of incident response.

  • AMSA’s Response Centre (the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) operates 24x7, coordinating search and rescue, maritime casualty management and marine pollution response operations.
  • Domain awareness, incident assessment and response activities are managed for the life cycle of response, from alert to closure.
  • Crisis preparedness and response focuses on preparing for and responding to major incidents, organisational crisis, surge and forward operations capabilities for us, incident response stockpiles and preparing people as resources for response.
  • Our integrated operations are supported by our response planning and support systems, which deliver support for response activities including maritime distress and safety communication satellite and terrestrial based networks and Cospas-Sarsat distress alerting systems.
  • We maintain governance of national response operations including major deliverables such as the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies and the National Search and Rescue Plan and Manual.
  • Our asset capability delivers management of our major contracts for aviation, navigation and surface assets including: dedicated airborne search and rescue capability, emergency towage capability and our network of aids to navigation.
  • Response supports our obligations under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Conventions, and other international conventions and plays a leading role in regional and technical cooperation arrangements.

Policy and regulation

Standards maintains the regulatory framework and standards for maritime safety, navigation and marine environment protection for all vessels in Australian waters. This is achieved through:

  • Development and maintenance of marine orders.
  • Development of standards and guidance for both safety and marine environment protection, achieved through consultation and engagement at both the international and domestic levels.
  • Planning and implementation of suitable navigation measures around our coastline and within Australian waters, including routeing measures, provision of nautical advice and approval of vessel traffic services authorities.
  • Engaging within standard setting organisations such as the IMO, ICAO, and the International Telecommunications Union.
  • Development and coordination of our technical cooperation activities.
  • Providing regulatory advice and support to other divisions.

These initiatives are undertaken to ensure the safe and efficient operation of vessels in Australian waters and to assist in the prevention of vessel incidents, which may significantly threaten our marine environment and the lives of seafarers. Fewer vessel incidents also contributes to stronger global trade and related economic benefits for Australia.

Corporate Services

Corporate Services provides common support services to our organisation. This support includes financial management, human resources, property and business services, performance and reporting, information technology, and records management.

Corporate Services also manages our corporate communication and stakeholder engagement, including media liaison, marketing and events, ministerial, parliamentary and government liaison, and web, publishing, and multimedia.

Our location

Our head office is in Canberra and we have 19 offices around Australia, including:

  • Adelaide, South Australia
  • Brisbane, Queensland
  • Fremantle, Western Australia
  • Melbourne, Victoria
  • Sydney, New South Wales.
Last updated: 19 October 2023