We are making changes to Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – national law) 2018 focused on aligning crewing arrangements with the recently revised crew competency arrangements under Marine Order 505. A number of other changes have also been made to strengthen existing provisions based on industry feedback.

What is Marine Order 504?

Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – national law) 2018 is made under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 and provides for the:

  • certificate of operation application requirements
  • criteria for the issuance or renewal of a certificate of operation
  • requirements for varying, suspending and revoking a certificate of operation
  • application requirements for temporary crewing permits
  • safety management system (SMS) requirements
  • operational requirements such as minimum/appropriate crewing and minimum baseline training requirements for crew
  • additional operational requirements for Class 4 (Hire and Drive) vessels
  • key definitions.

What are the proposed key changes?

  1. Amending the crewing provisions to ensure alignment with the certificate of competency arrangements in the new MO505 and simplifying the minimum crewing requirements table format.
  2. Emphasising the need for fatigue to be adequately considered when determining risk-based crewing levels.
  3. Ensuring that the risk assessment (including the appropriate crewing determination) is accessible to the master, crew and enforcement personnel.
  4. Requiring owners to consult with master and crew in the development of risk assessments.
  5. Adding more specific onboard training and drill requirements for emergency procedures and associated record-keeping requirements.
  6. Strengthening the designated person provision to ensure clear and direct reporting pathways for the escalation of issues.
  7. Clarifying the requirement for lifejacket wear to be addressed in the vessel’s risk assessment and written procedure in the safety management system.  

Who may be affected by these changes?

Owners, operators, masters and crew of domestic commercial vessels will need to implement the new requirements.

When will the changes be made?

The amended Marine Order 504 is scheduled to be made available to industry in March 2023 following the period of external consultation.

However, it is not planned to commence until mid-2023 to allow time for domestic commercial vessel owners and operators to implement any required changes.  

Why are we making the changes?

There are linkages between the crewing arrangements in Marine Order 504 and the crew competency arrangements in Marine Order 505. As a result of the recent changes to Marine Order 505, which will come into effect on 1 January 2023, a review of Marine Order 504 was required to ensure that both marine orders are aligned and can be read together with clarity and completeness.

The changes and clarifications to the accessibility of the SMS and risk assessment, fatigue consideration in crewing levels, onboard training requirements for emergency procedures, and the designated person provision are a result of extensive consultation with industry through several workshops. A number of the industry members who took part in these workshops were also members of the Industry Reference Group for MO505 to ensure consistency between both orders.

The amendment to clarify the requirement for lifejacket wear to be addressed in the vessel’s risk assessment and written procedure in the safety management system is a direct result of the feedback received during the consultation on AMSA’s proposal to mandate lifejacket wear requirements on domestic commercial vessels.

How the amendments work

 

Have your say

We want to know what you think about the proposed amendments to Marine Order 504 and any concerns you may have with the implementation of the changes?

Please read through the ‘How the amendments work?’ section below and let us know whether you can identify any issues with the changes and whether the changes will achieve the objectives.

How to submit feedback?

  • Make a submission online.
  • Provide feedback to your industry association or nominated representative.
  • Contact AMSA Connect on 1800 627 484 - the Customer Service Officer will take your feedback verbally over the phone.
  • By sending an email to consultation@amsa.gov.au
  • By posting your feedback to: AMSA Consultation, GPO Box 2181, Canberra, ACT, 2601.

Here we describe each key change in the amended Marine Order 504. We explain what you will need to do and our intention in making each change.

Structural changes to clarify Schedule 1, clause 6 ‘Resources and Personnel’

Schedule 1, clause 6 ‘Resources and Personnel’ currently holds provisions for appropriate crewing, minimum crewing, temporary crewing permits, training requirements and qualification requirements.

To improve the overall structure and readability of this clause, it has been divided into 6 separate clauses with some minor changes to subclause positioning and wording.

  • Schedule 1, clause 6 – Appropriate crewing for vessels other than class 4 and larger vessels
  • Schedule 1, clause 6A – Minimum crewing
  • Schedule 1, clause 6B – Temporary crewing permit
  • Schedule 1, clause 6C – Appropriate crewing for vessels ≥80m or ≥3000GT or ≥3000kW
  • Schedule 1, clause 6D – Onboard induction, familiarisation and training
  • Schedule 1, clause 6E – First aid and radio communication requirements

Amending the crewing provisions to ensure alignment with the certificate of competency arrangements in the new MO505 and simplifying the minimum crewing requirements table format

The new MO505 which is due to commence on 1 January 2023 now includes a Master <100m (NC) certificate of competency which allows the holder to command domestic commercial vessels that are less than <100m and <3000GT. As a result of this change, a new clause ‘6C Appropriate crewing for vessels ≥80m or ≥3000GT or ≥3000kW’ has been added to MO504 to prescribe that the owner of a vessel ≥80m or ≥3000GT or ≥3000kW apply to the National Regulator every five years for an assessment of appropriate crewing for the vessel.

It is recommended that this application is made at the same time as the issue or reissue of a certificate of operation for the vessel.

The format of the minimum crewing table has also been updated for clarity and ease of understanding. The table now includes a total crew, master and engineer column to ensure that the requirement for an engineer to be onboard the vessel is clear. The notes below the table have also been simplified.

Ensuring fatigue is considered into crewing levels

To ensure that the risk of fatigue is appropriately addressed in domestic commercial vessel operations, it is proposed that MO504 is amended to emphasise that the risk of fatigue of the master and crew must be taken into consideration when determining risk-based crewing for the vessel.

It is also proposed to add a condition to restrict vessels from operating with minimum crewing if the vessel does not provide the master and each crew member at least 10 hours rest in each 24-hour period.

The purpose of these changes is to ensure that the risk of fatigue is adequately considered, and that owners and operators plan for periods of rest for their master and crew.

A definition of the term ‘rest’ has been added to MO504 to provide clarity as to what is considered ‘rest’ for the purpose of this instrument.

Fatigue remains a major concern in the domestic commercial vessel industry and is a factor that significantly increases the risk of accidents in the workplace. Fatigued crew are very likely to make mistakes, putting themselves, others and the environment at risk. A recent survey found that 40% of respondents identified that they got less than 6 hours sleep in any given 24-hour period when out at sea.

For more information on the risk of fatigue, please click here.

Keeping a copy of the vessel’s safety management system onboard and onshore

Based on recommendations from coronial inquests, it is proposed to include an amendment in MO504 specifying that a copy of the SMS must be kept readily available and accessible both onboard the vessel (if reasonably practicable to do so) and with on shore personnel.

This change will ensure that there is another copy of the vessel’s SMS available to regulatory authorities in the circumstances where the SMS documentation may be lost if a vessel sinks.

The SMS documentation that is required to be kept onboard and onshore can be an electronic version.

Ensuring that the risk assessment including the appropriate crewing determination is accessible to crew and enforcement personnel and that the master and crew are consulted in the risk assessment process

It is proposed to include an amendment to ensure that the risk assessment including the appropriate crewing determination is readily accessible to the master and crew. This change will ensure that those involved with operating the vessel are aware of the established practices and procedures included in these documents, leading to better safety outcomes.

In addition to this change, it is proposed to include a condition requiring the risk assessment to be prepared in consultation with the master and crew of the vessel. By involving the master and crew in the development of the risk assessment, it provides an opportunity for those who are working on the vessel to impart their knowledge and experience into the process, providing for a more robust risk assessment.

Another amendment that has been included is a condition that requires the risk assessment including the appropriate crewing determination to be presented upon request to the National Regulator or marine safety inspector. The purpose of this change is to facilitate effective and efficient compliance.

Adding more specific onboard training and drill requirements for emergency procedures and associated record-keeping requirements

It is proposed that an amendment is made to require onboard training for emergency procedures to cover each of the procedures in the emergency plan as listed in Schedule 1, subclause 8 (3). This list includes but is not limited to fire, person overboard, medical emergency and loss of steering. In addition to this list, the training must also cover the use of the vessel’s lifesaving equipment.

Furthermore, the owner of the vessel must ensure that emergency drills are conducted to test procedures and confirm the competency and ability of the master and crew to respond rapidly and effectively in an emergency. These drills are to be performed at a frequency determined by the risk assessment of the vessel.

Requirements for recording training and drills have also been incorporated into the amendment. A record must be kept in the vessel’s logbook or separate document and include a description of the training or drill, the date that the training or drills took place, and the name and signature of the person/s participating in the training. The record keeping requirements for the record of training and drills is the same as those for logbooks.

Strengthening the designated person provision to ensure clear and direct reporting pathways for the escalation of issues

It is proposed to make some changes to the designated person provision to ensure that the designated person can provide a stronger link between the entity and those onboard.  The amendments will also ensure the designated person can be relied upon to provide a direct reporting pathway to the highest levels of the entity responsible for the operation to escalate safety concerns and issues.

The designated person(s) provision will be amended to clarify that more than one person can hold the position of designated person for a vessel.

The designated person(s) will also be required to be contactable by the Master and crew.  

Clarifying the requirement that lifejacket wear must be addressed in the vessel’s risk assessment and written procedure in the safety management system

In 2021, AMSA released a paper for external consultation, which provided several options for strengthening lifejacket wear requirements.

Based on the feedback received, it is proposed that MO504 is amended to further clarify the existing requirement for lifejacket wear to be addressed in the vessel’s risk assessment and a written procedure to be included in the safety management system.

This proposed change will require all domestic commercial vessel owners and operators to identify when a lifejacket must be worn by any person on board the vessel and include a written procedure in their safety management system to mitigate the risks identified in the vessel’s risk assessment and to ensure that the lifejackets are readily available when needed. Passenger vessels will also be required to ensure that their safety induction includes guidance on the wearing of lifejackets.