Tolerance, enforcement and delays

Find out about permitted tolerance and enforcement of requirements for verified gross mass (VGM). You may also have to deal with delays in providing or transmitting the VGM electronically.

Permitted tolerance of a verified gross mass

The permitted tolerance is not specified, rather Marine Order 42 specifies the equipment accuracy standards to be applied. As indicated in section 10.3 of Marine Order 42 this means the equipment is calibrated and certified:

  • as required to comply with:
    • the National Measurement Act 1960
    • the National Measurement Regulations 1999
    • the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009, or
  • in our approved list of accuracy standards.

More details are available in the Instrument of approval—approved accuracy standards for weighing equipment for the determination of verified gross mass.

Enforcement of requirements

VGM must be obtained on equipment that meets the prescribed standards of accuracy. We may audit shippers to ask for evidence as to how they obtain the VGM in accordance with the order. Audits can also be triggered when we become aware of suspected non-compliance.

In such cases AMSA will examine the processes by which the shipper obtained the VGM. This includes examination of any agreements with, and actions of, third parties and such inspections as necessary to confirm the shipper is obtaining and providing the VGM in accordance with Marine Order 42.

We will take action to ensure compliance where the VGM is not obtained in accordance with Marine Order 42. 

Marine Order 42 does contain strict liability penalties—but these will only be considered where the nature of the case warrants it. Other compliance mechanisms are provided for in the legislation. How it is enforced will depend on the circumstances in each situation. For the monitoring powers of inspectors see section 259 of the Navigation Act.

Dealing with delays

There may be delays when providing or transmitting the VGM, particularly when using electronic documentation. We will be acting as recommended in the IMO MSC.1/Circular 1548 Advice to administrations, port State control authorities, companies, port terminals and masters regarding the solas requirements for verified gross mass of packed containers regarding these provision/transmission issues if they arise.

We will be focused on promoting compliance and assisting stakeholders to comply where issues are noted.

We will not apply the civil or criminal penalties contained in the legislation unless the circumstances indicate there is no other option.

Last updated: 

Thursday 25 October 2018