Revised Marine Order 504

Crewing vessels > 80m

A new version of Marine Order 504 is now in effect.

The owner of a domestic commercial vessel > 80 m or >3000 GT or >3000 kW must apply to AMSA for approval of their determination of appropriate crewing every 5 years.

This should be done at the same time as applying for a certificate of operation (new or renewal). The owner is then responsible for ensuring the vessel operates in accordance with the appropriate crewing determination.

The following guidance sets out the information AMSA needs to be able to approve the crewing determination. In general, the more detailed information you provide to support your proposal for appropriate crewing, the easier and quicker it will be for AMSA to approved and issue a determination.

Additionally, any proposed deviation from the general principles or benchmarks set out below will need substantial, detailed justification for AMSA to consider when making the determination.


Purpose of appropriate crewing 

As set out in Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements), an appropriate crewing determination will be designed to ensure that the vessel is sufficiently, effectively and efficiently crewed to provide:

  • Safety and security of the vessel 
  • Safety of navigation 
  • Safety of crew, passengers, cargo and property 
  • Health and welfare of crew through the avoidance of fatigue
  • Protection of the environment, and 
  • Compliance with: 
    • The vessel’s certificate of operation 
    • Marine Order 504, and 
    • The National Law. 

As a general benchmark, the starting point for determining appropriate crewing for a large domestic commercial vessel (DCV) would be to consider the requirements for an equivalent regulated Australian vessel (RAV).

This means that the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) qualifications are most appropriate for such vessels, and any proposal that seeks a determination to do otherwise – such as for the vessel’s crew to hold domestic qualifications issued under Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency) – will require substantial reasoning and justification through an appropriate risk assessment.

AMSA may consider domestic qualifications to be appropriate for less complex operations (when compared to an equivalent RAV). For instance, near coastal (domestic) engineering certification where the vessel will not undertake extensive voyages. Other domestic qualifications may be considered where they are demonstrated to be equivalent to the corresponding STCW qualification.

Information AMSA requires in your application

Your application for an appropriate crewing determination needs to include detailed information on the vessel and its operations, along with your assessment of the appropriate crewing.  

For further information on what is required, please contact

Where relevant, the application will need to include the following supporting documents: 

  • Shipboard Working Arrangement 
  • Certificate of Survey 
  • Copy of Safety Management System– or International Safety Management Certificate if operating under the ISM Code (with crewing related extract). 
  • Class notation of Uncrewed Machinery Space (UMS)
  • Previously issued Certificate of Operation showing conditions relating to crewing 

Where relevant to the vessel’s operations, the application will also need to include operational details of:

  • The proposed watchkeeping schedule
  • Maintenance of a safe radio watch, including details of radio/communication equipment
  • Fatigue management plan including hours of work and rest
  • Accommodation and cooking duties
  • Provision of medical care on board
  • Operating and maintaining in safe condition the main propulsion and auxiliary machinery to enable the vessel to overcome the foreseeable peril of the operations, and maintain the safety arrangements and cleanliness of machinery spaces to minimise risk of fire
  • Safety functions
  • Procedures for mustering passengers onto lifeboats
  • Watertight closing arrangements, fire equipment and lifesaving appliances, including mounting an effective damage control party
  • Safe and effective mooring and unmooring
  • Safety in all operations in port
  • Vessel security
  • Any other equipment to be operated
  • Protection of the marine environment