AMSA announces compliance focus areas for 2022-23

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has listed the compliance focus areas for the 2022-23 financial year, with overdue periodic surveys, planned maintenance and changes in requirements for crew certification at the top of the list.

AMSA will conduct 2,450 inspections of domestic commercial vessels throughout the year.

Informed by safety data, incidents, inspection data and trends to encourage voluntary compliance and continuous improvement, the AMSA focus areas aim to address emerging trends that present a risk to the safety of crew, passengers, vessels and protection of the marine environment. Addressing these areas will support greater confidence in safety outcomes.

These and more regional-specific focus areas targeting domestic commercial vessel operations have been outlined in AMSA’s third consecutive National Compliance Plan, which was released online on 1 July 2022.

AMSA’s National Compliance Plan for 2022-23 features a strong emphasis on education, supported by inspection activities where appropriate.

1. Planned maintenance – Five of the top 10 most frequently identified deficiencies during inspection of domestic commercial vessels in 2020 and 2021 were for safety equipment being absent, out of service or in disrepair. Nearly three quarters of all marine incident reports received by AMSA between 2019 and 2021 involved deficiencies or failures with onboard equipment, systems, or structures.

This coupled with the volume of overdue periodic surveys has highlighted the need to address the effective implementation of maintenance programs.

AMSA will be working with operators to ensure planned maintenance schedules and plans are being put into practice to maintain the material state of the vessel, its equipment and certification.

AMSA will conduct a safety compliance campaign focusing on vessel maintenance that will also include lifejackets and safety equipment.

2. Marine Order 505 – Certificates of Competency – New Amendments to Certificates of Competency (tickets) will come into effect on 1 January 2023.

AMSA will conduct an education campaign raising awareness of the changes in requirements surrounding crew certification in the period leading up to and following the new requirements coming into force.

3. Water/weathertight integrity and conditions – Deficiencies for water and weathertight integrity increased as a proportion of all deficiencies in the past three years to nine percent in 2021.

Watertight/weather tight integrity will remain an integral part of all inspections.

4. Safety Risk Assessment – is foundational for an effective Safety Management System (SMS). A lack of adequate risk assessment has been identified as a contributing factor in 33 per cent of marine incident investigation reports analysed to date.

AMSA will conduct a safety compliance campaign, including education and focused inspections on risk assessment.

5. Overdue Periodic Surveys – In February 2022, AMSA’s records indicated there were 1,405 overdue periodic surveys. It is a condition of the certificate of survey that periodic surveys are completed within a set timeframe.

AMSA aims to increase compliance in this area. Key to this activity will be reaching out to stakeholders directly to advise of AMSA’s record of their vessel’s survey status and ascertaining the reason for any lapse.

AMSA appreciates that in some cases certificate holders may not have informed AMSA if a vessel is sold, scrapped, sunk or if their address has changed, or have not provided evidence of a completed periodic survey. Hence the actual level of non-compliance is indeterminate.

6., Onboard familiarisation – In February 2022, AMSA’s records indicated there were 1,405 overdue periodic surveys. It is a condition of the certificate of survey that periodic surveys are completed within a set timeframe.

AMSA will develop and conduct an education campaign focusing on the obligations of vessel owners to ensure that all personnel are qualified and properly inducted and trained in the operation of the vessel before assuming duties.

You’ll find a copy of AMSA’s National Compliance Plan 2022-23 here.