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AMSA wins risk management award

Friday 24 April 2015
On Thursday 16 April 2015, AMSA was presented with an award as a joint winner in the Australian Government Department of Finance Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.
(L-R):  Ms Jane Halton PSM, Secretary of the Department of Finance; the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance; Alex Schultz-Altmann, Manager, Ship Inspection and Registration, Ship Safety Division, AMSA

The award was given under the Risk Initiative category for AMSA’s ‘excellent use of risk management as a tool to improve shipping practices, and its strong stakeholder engagement that has influenced international standards and regulations’.

Alex Schultz-Altmann (Ship Safety Division) accepted the award on behalf of AMSA from both from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP and Ms Jane Halton PSM, Secretary, Department of Finance.

The risk management award recognised AMSA’s efforts and achievements in working with industry to develop tests and carriage requirements to address the risk of liquefaction of bulk iron ore cargoes, and having these adopted internationally in a very short time frame.

AMSA initiated the work after it recognised a major strategic risk posed by liquefaction of bulk cargoes that could result in loss of life, and significant environmental or socioeconomic impact. The phenomenon is now regarded as having been responsible for the loss of 12 ships carrying either nickel or iron ore cargoes in the period of 1988 to 2013, with the loss of 109 lives. It is also notable that in the 1990s there was also a spate of bulk carrier losses with sailings from the north-west of Australia with four ships loaded with iron ore fines being lost with the loss of 51 lives. These losses were attributed to structural failures, but the resulting loss of stability due to liquefaction cannot be discounted as a contributory factor.

This work has led to safer handling practices for iron ore and has ensured that the cargo industry has regulatory certainty at the national and international level, delivering a level commercial playing field for a vital Australian commodity. After consulted widely with mining companies, maritime insurers, international interests and other exporting countries, AMSA persuaded the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to allow early implementation in Australia.

A notable benefit of this work is that it will enable AMSA, and other competent authorities, to avoid over regulating where cargoes will not liquefy and provide certainty in determining where they may. This ensures regulatory enforcement can be more effective. No ship has been lost carrying iron ore fines since the new test and carriage requirements were introduced and this should remain the case where shippers and shipping countries properly apply the requirements.