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Sea trials for vessels built in Australia

Instructions where an Australian commercial vessel under construction is required to undertake sea trials prior to the issuance of statutory certification.

Australian vessels intended to be commissioned as Royal Australian Navy vessels following their delivery to Defence are not included in this process. Please contact FSC@amsa.gov.au to discuss.

Seas trials are required to be undertaken as part of the process to complete statutory certification.

For vessels regulated under the Navigation Act 2012, an exemption to take the vessel to sea for the purposes of undertaking sea trials must be obtained from AMSA through its appointed Recognised Organisations (RO) (commonly known as Classification Societies).

Ship owners should engage an AMSA appointed Recognised Organisation at the initial stages of construction to facilitate the sea trial process within the scheduled build timeframe.

For ship builders of Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) please refer to Sea trial document (amsa.gov.au)

Eligibility for an exemption

An exemption will be required where a vessel will not have the appropriate statutory certification under the Navigation Act 2012 for the intended sea trials period.

This applies to vessels that have Australian Nationality under the Shipping Registration Act 1981 (the Act). This may include under the Act, ships registered or unregistered, holding provisional registration or a temporary pass.

How to apply for an exemption

An application for exemption must include:

  • Application Form 288 Exemption or equivalence application (amsa.gov.au)
  • A Regulated Australian Vessel (RAV) ‘Sea Trials Checklist’ completed by the ship owner / ship builder / third-party contractor engaged by the ship builder to conduct the sea-trials on their behalf, and reviewed and endorsed by the appointed Recognised Organisation; OR an equivalent declaration provided by the appointed Recognised Organisation.

Sea trials checklist

The ‘Sea trials checklist’ has been developed to support applications. The purpose of the checklist is to:

  • Provide the Master with information regarding the condition of the vessel to enable them to consider taking the vessel to sea without statutory certification; and
  • Provide AMSA with a level of assurance that taking the vessel to sea is a risk that is as low as is reasonably practicable (ALARP).

The information provided through the Sea trials checklist assists AMSA in its decision process that issuing an Exemption from section 24 of the Navigation Act 2012 (via section 334 of the Navigation Act 2012), and consequential obligations on the Owner and the Master for not having the required statutory certificates; does not jeopardise the safety of a vessel, persons on board a vessel, or the environment.

The Exemption also considers sections 103,104,135 and 136 of the Navigation Act 2012, relating to the Master or the owner taking a vessel to sea without the appropriate safety or pollution certificates.

The information also helps to establish that the vessel is in a seaworthy condition to undertake the sea-trials proposed, per section 23 of the Navigation Act 2012.

Last updated: 29 July 2022