AMSA Delivering Domestic Commercial Vessel Services

As of 1 July, AMSA has assumed full responsibility for the service delivery of all national system services.

The quickest and easiest way to apply, renew and pay for certificates and other permits is via the AMSA website www.amsa.gov.au. New online smart forms are available to guide you through the application and payment process at a time that suits you. There is also information to help you keep up to date with your safety obligations.

If you need someone to answer a question or guide you through the application process, our AMSA Connect team is available from 8 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday on 1800 627 484, with more technical enquiries referred onto our specialist teams. You can also email amsaconnect@amsa.gov.au.

If you need to make a payment you can either do so when you lodge your form, over the phone through AMSA Connect or at an Australia Post Office.  In Western Australia there are 18 Australia Post Offices where you can lodge your Certificate of Competency renewal – Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon, Christmas Island, Derby, Esperance, Exmouth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Karratha, Kununurra, Mandurah, Port Hedland, Rockingham and West Perth. The relevant form AMSA 426 can be found on the AMSA website and will guide you through what is required. The WA Post Office addresses, along with other states can be found here https://www.amsa.gov.au/about-us/who-we-are/australia-post-retail-outlets

AMSA also has offices in Fremantle, Geraldton, Port Hedland and Karratha that you can visit for assistance though we encourage you to check in advance that someone will be available if you have a technical query.

No AMSA levy for three years

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced that the Australian Government will provide an additional $10 million funding for the national system in response to industry feedback. The additional funding means no levy will be charged to industry for the first three years of service delivery under AMSA. Fees for all certificate services commenced as planned on 1 July 2018.

Old ‘Ex’ vessels are now Non Survey vessels

These vessels are ‘grandfathered’ as non-survey vessels under the National Law and any conditions that relate to the vessel or its operation are recorded on the vessel’s Certificate of Operation.  For instance many of these vessels have 5nm geographical operating limitations, and maximum loading conditions.

As a non-survey vessel what standards do I need to meet?

All DCVs are required to meet certain safety equipment standards under the National Law. For non-survey vessels these are found in the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part G (Non-survey vessels).

A non-survey vessel is also required to continue to meet the standards it was required to meet prior to the National Law and importantly are subject to the National Law General Safety Duties which require the operator to ensure the safety of the vessel and that of anyone on board so far as reasonably practicable.

The National Law also requires operators to implement and maintain a Safety Management System (SMS) that ensures that the vessel and its operations are safe.  The SMS should provide for regular inspections of the vessel’s equipment and a maintenance program which ensures that equipment is functional and within any applicable service dates.

AMSA Marine Inspectors will be conducting spot compliance activities to verify that operators are doing the right thing and looking after the safety of the vessel and crew.

What if I am buying a ‘new’ vessel?

If you are buying a vessel that is not registered as a DCV and you wish to operate it outside sheltered waters, the vessel will either need to be in survey or come under Exemption 40 as a Restricted C vessel.

Exemption 40/Restricted C vessels differ from full survey vessels in a number of ways. A Restricted C vessel is required to undergo initial survey, but does not need to comply with “full survey” requirements. Instead, elements are left up to the surveyor’s discretion, providing they are satisfied the vessel is fit for the intended use and the requirements of Exemption 40 are met. This enables some vessels not built to commercial standards to be certified for commercial use.

However, as a result, Restricted C vessels may only operate within a limited set of waters designated by AMSA. In Tasmania these waters are very similar to the waters MAST allowed previous ‘Certificate of Registration’ vessels to operate in. AMSA has produced a series of maps depicting these waters which are available on the AMSA website.

New Certificates of Survey and reduced survey regime

For all DCVs with a current Certificate of Survey, AMSA is issuing a new Certificate of Survey which includes the vessels new survey schedule, including the surveys due from now until the certificate’s expiry date. These expiry dates are generally based on when the vessel had its last shaft survey. Remember periodic surveys can be completed three months before or three months after it is due and your full renewal survey can be done any time in the six months before the certificate’s expiry date (but not after), without affecting the expiry date of the certificate.

We are working to update and correct records following the transfer of data from the seven jurisdictions and this work is likely to continue over the next few months. If you believe anything on your new Certificate of Survey is incorrect or missing or you have received a certificate for a vessel you no longer own, please send the details to AMSA by emailing dataverification@amsa.gov.au or call AMSA Connect on 1800 627 484. Any other Certificate of Survey held by your vessel continues to be valid.

Please check to ensure your vessel is in the correct survey frequency as listed on your new AMSA Certificate of Survey. Any Class 3 (fishing) vessel that has a fibreglass or timber hull that is over 15 years old is required to be in Medium level survey frequency.

Please also note that when your AMSA Certificate of Survey expires you need to complete and submit an AMSA 576 form to renew the certificate for five years, and make a payment of $206. Your surveyor can send the required reports directly through to AMSA.

New AMSA UVIs

AMSA has issued all DCVs with a new 6 digit Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI). This has been necessary as there was duplication across the unique identifiers issued by the different jurisdictions and AMSA needs to be able to uniquely identify each vessel in the database.

The AMSA database still recognises the distinguishing mark your vessel currently has displayed.  Whilst AMSA encourages you to also display your AMSA UVI, you are not required to do so if you are displaying your current state issued identifier.

For those vessels with a Certificate of Survey you should receive a letter with your new UVI when you receive your new certificate. Please keep it with your vessel’s paperwork as it will be needed when you make an application to AMSA.

Certificate of Operation

A Certificate of Operation sets out the conditions under which a domestic commercial vessel—or fleet of vessels—must operate, including:

  • the vessels used in the operation
  • how and where the vessels can operate
  • other conditions AMSA considers necessary due to the nature of either a vessel or an operation.

It is a condition of the certificate of operation that the vessel must have a safety management system that complies with the requirements in marine order 504. This is compulsory for ALL vessels.

We may check that you are meeting the conditions of your certificate of operation at any time. If we believe that you are not meeting the conditions of your certificate of operation we may suspend or revoke your certificate.

Certificates of Operation are usually valid for five years and many are now coming up for renewal. You can renew your certificate using the AMSA 504 form online or call AMSA Connect for assistance. Please upload a copy of your current Certificate of Operation as part of your application.

If you are operating as a company or a trust AMSA requests you also upload evidence to ensure the correct details are on your new certificate. You can generate a pdf company extract by doing a free search on the ASIC website www.asic.gov.au.