The NRT is supplemented by a number of capabilities held within the Australian, State and Northern Territory Governments and the oil industry. The national deployment of these capabilities will be coordinated by AMSA in accordance with the NP-GUI-005 Deployment of the National Response Team.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

AMSA will maintain and contribute an operational capability to support response operations being conducted by Control Agencies. AMSA officers will perform specific roles, particularly in the early stages of the response, directly related to the coordination and management of national capabilities. These roles will include:

  • Liaison and advisory roles in support of the Control function
  • Planning
  • Operations
  • Logistics
  • Environment, Science & Technology
  • Aviation operations
  • Geospatial intelligence
  • Forward operating base and staging area coordination.

Deployed AMSA staff will be trained and provisioned to the same standards as required of the National Response Team.

Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre (AMOSC) Core Group

AMOSC, along with its Participating Companies (BP, Caltex, ExxonMobil, BHP Billiton, Chevron, Santos, Shell, Viva, Woodside) and some AMOSC Associate member companies have committed to provide mutual aid support to its members, and to the Australian, State and Northern Territory governments in the event of an oil spill.

This arrangement is for the hire of trained personnel to support/assist spill response activities in both operational and incident management team functions. The personnel available under the mutual aid arrangements are known as the AMOSC Core Group.

For further information on the AMOSC Core Group refer to Appendix C.

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)

NOPSEMA is Australia’s offshore energy regulator for petroleum facilities and activities in Commonwealth waters. NOPSEMA’s Environment Division has a number of personnel with extensive oil spill response experience and training.

Relevant NOPSEMA personnel participate in annual National Plan training and exercises.

NOPSEMA personnel are available to fulfil NRT functions during major oil spill incidents that are not associated with the offshore petroleum industry and where no conflict in its regulatory role is presented.

NOPSEMA will make its personnel available to support a National Plan maritime incident response in accordance with the NRT policy on request from AMSA.

State and Northern Territory state response teams or equivalent

The states and Northern Territory should consider maintaining a broader capability as part of their own State Response Teams or equivalent structure. As part of the cooperative arrangements under the National Plan, these personnel can be deployed to support other jurisdictions. This personnel resource includes the following functions:

  • Aerial Attack Supervisors
  • Finance personnel
  • Wildlife Coordinator
    • IMT-equivalent roles
    • Field, reconnaissance, rescue, assessment and triage coordinators
    • Transport, logistics and facilities coordinators
    • Capture, cleaning, care, rehabilitation and veterinary specialists
    • Crew leaders for all functions
    • Administrative and team support roles.
  • Equipment Operators
    • Marco Operator
    • Offshore Containment/Recovery
    • Inshore Containment/Recovery
    • Vessel-based dispersant spraying
  • Shoreline Response
  • Personnel familiar with Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique (SCAT)
  • Media

The Equipment Operator role has been divided into areas of specific expertise. Equipment operators, who are required to operate or crew a vessel, will also require the appropriate marine qualifications. Equipment Operators may be competent in more than one specialist area.

Environmental advisers can also fill many roles, covering environmental, scientific and technical functions, both within the IMT (especially within the Planning Group) and in the field, in assessment or operations response teams.

State and Northern Territory personnel will be requested and activated by the same process as the National Response Team.

Environment, science and technology network

ES&T expert response functions, roles, and positions often require diverse and significant technical capability, and may need to be sustained throughout an extended response.

Few response agencies have all the required expertise, so the ES&T network has been established to provide a national support group of highly skilled and professional scientists and technicians. Network members come from government agencies across all jurisdictions, from the ports, maritime and petroleum sectors, from academia and research organisations, and from the education, commercial and consulting sectors.

Wildlife response network

Wildlife response is often the foremost public interest in a spill response. From contingency planning to release of rehabilitated animals, a wide variety of expertise, skills and technical capabilities are required; often well beyond the duration of the actual spill response and remotely from other spill response sites and facilities. Occasionally, the spill response creates the need for wildlife response.

No National Plan Control Agency has direct responsibility for wildlife response—all rely on external support. However, every State and the Northern Territory already has an injured wildlife response system or network, as spills are not the only hazard, but no two are the same, or deliver capability the same way.

There is, however, a commonality in the functions required. Primary wildlife response supports response activities that prevent the pollutant injuring wildlife or critical habitat. This includes specific wildlife planning and prioritization, to inform overall response decisions. Secondary wildlife response is effective techniques to prevent wildlife encountering pollutants that cannot be removed. This ranges from isolating wildlife, to hazing, to pre-emptive capture and holding, prior to injury. Tertiary wildlife response is that most commonly seen, where contaminated animals are captured, transported, cleaned and rehabilitated. The complexity and duration of these activities is often underestimated.

Effective delivery of all types of wildlife response requires effective local pre-planning and capability building, combined with local and national surge capacity. A national Wildlife Response Network is the aim of the Oiled Wildlife Working Group. This would oversee nationally consistent training, planning, building and delivery of wildlife response capabilities. The key role in each jurisdiction is the Wildlife Division Coordinator, accountable to the IMT Operations Officer for delivery of secondary and tertiary wildlife response functions. Planning and prioritization activities also require awareness of wildlife value, impact and response operations. Many other specialist roles and functions support the overall wildlife response, many of whom are likely to be trained community volunteers.

Mapping and planning support (MAPS)

AMSA maintains an MOU with the Mapping and Planning Support Group of the ACT Emergency Services Agency. The MAPS Group provides mapping and other spatial service support to Incident Management Teams. The MAPS Group can be activated by AMSA.

Aviation support

The States and Northern Territory are responsible for the provision of Air Attack Supervisors and Aerial Observers to support aerial dispersant operations and oil monitoring operations. These personnel will generally be accessed through whole-of-government response arrangements which each jurisdiction has committed to implement. Where aviation specialists need to be deployed between jurisdictions, this can be coordinated either through AMSA or via the State and Northern Territory Governments disaster management arrangements.