WAFIC believes every professional fisher has a right to operate in as safe a workplace as possible given the inherent nature of working at sea in unpredictable weather conditions.
This is why we have established a dedicated Safety and Training page on our website.
If fishing vessels cannot go to sea, fishermen cannot ‘access the resource’. There are many marine safety and workplace safety reasons why vessels may not be able to go to sea:
- Vessels may not meet government marine safety regulations and authorities stop vessels for going to sea;
- Skippers and crew may not be properly qualified to work your vessel;
- Workplace health and safety arrangements are inadequate and authorities have shut down your fishing operation.
This section of the WAFIC website is designed to direct you to:
- The current government regulations for marine safety;
- The current government regulations for workplace safety (Note: Workplace safety comes under separate legislation to marine safety in WA – see below);
- Important matters on upcoming changes to safety and training that may impact your fishing or aquaculture business;
- Latest news in safety and training affecting the fishing and aquaculture industry.
Marine Safety – relates to vessel construction, vessel survey specifications, skippers tickets, engineers tickets, life-saving equipment, radios, navigation, safety management systems, vessel operating limitations and emergency procedures.
For more information go to: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
AMSA Connect 1800 627 484 – Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (across Australia)
AMSA website amsa.gov.au/transition-national-system-domestic-commercial-vessel
Email [email protected]
Follow us Facebook.com/AustralianMaritimeSafetyAuthority
Workplace Safety – relates to how the owner, skipper and crew of any vessel manage health and safety in the workplace including safety management systems, training, on-board safety drills and emergency procedures. (Note: A fishing vessel is regarded as a ‘workplace’)
For more information go to: Worksafe WA – http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe
The cost of safety and training can represent a significant investment for fishing or aquaculture operations but failure to plan ahead and manage safety-at-sea can have an even greater impact on your crew’s well-being or even their life.
It is important that the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry understands:
- how to access information on the marine safety and workplace safety rules relevant to an individual or a vessel;
- how industry can provide input to make sure the rules, and any proposed changes, are practical to implement; and,
- the processes used by government to introduce or change the marine and workplace safety rules.
Are you Doing Everything to Make Sure You and your Crew Come Home?
If you are reading this you are probably an owner, skipper or deckie on a fishing vessel or you have a partner, child or grandchild working on a fishing vessel. Fishing is the last of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ industries, man vs the sea, long traditions and embedded culture.
But ask yourself – are you doing everything in your power to make sure you and your crew come home?
Watch this video before reading on: https://vimeo.com/264380465
Rules and regulations set minimum standards but only the people who own, skipper and work on a fishing vessel can make sure everything has been done to be safe while at sea.
Do you think that your mates on-board the vessel with you know how to save you in an emergency? What happens if they don’t?
Ask your self these simple questions.
- Does your vessel have a documented safety management system (SMS)?
- Have you trained your crew in how that SMS works on your vessel?
- Does your vessel practice emergency procedures on a regular basis, especially when a new crew member joins the vessel? Does everyone on board know exactly what to do if a man goes overboard or there is a fire or the vessel starts to sink or a hand goes into a winch or net drum? Do you know what to do?
- Do you have a problem wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) while working? If so, ask yourself why is this a problem – then ask yourself if it would be a bigger problem being tossed overboard without a PFD (fitted with a strobe light and a personal EPIRB) in the middle of the night or in rough weather conditions?
Ask your loved ones if they think it is a problem with you wearing a PFD while at sea or whether they think that it is a waste of time doing regular training drills in emergency procedures?
Now go back and watch the video again and listen to the crab fishermen who after 25 years fishing still ran into a dangerous situation he never expected. Are you like him and think you’ve got it all under control – then ask yourself if you really do have it all under control?
The AMSA and Worksafe authorities will be visiting every vessel in WA in the near future and they will be asking you how your vessel is dealing with all the basic safety things raised in the questions above. Where a deficiency exists the owner may be asked to show cause as to why their vessel should not be prohibited from going to sea until the deficiencies are rectified.
Why not get on the front foot, develop your safe system of working on your vessel, train your crew in how to work safely on your vessel, regularly practice emergency procedures while at sea and encourage your crew to wear personal safety equipment when appropriate.
Keep asking yourself the question – Am I doing everything to make sure my crew and I come home?
1. Develop a Safety Management System for your Vessel
Safety Management Systems (SMS) ensure commercial vessels are maintained and operated safely.
If you own or operate a commercial fishing vessel (including those under the AMSA ‘grandfathered’ arrangements) you are required by law to implement and maintain an SMS for your specific vessel. This includes vessels that are exempt from needing a certificate of operation.
2. Carryout Regular Emergency Procedures Drills with your Crew
Your Safety Management System (SMS) should describe how to manage all these emergency situations BUT you must practice the emergency procedures to help train you and your crew to become ‘drilled’ in what to do if a real emergency arises.
Don’t leave things to chance. Practice every three months or whenever a new crew member comes aboard. Log these practice sessions in your vessel log.
3. Electrical Safety – Install Residual Currency Devices
The State’s energy safety regulator is urging business owners to do a simple check of their residual current devices (RCDs) – the compulsory life-saving switches that protect against electrocution.
4. Cyclone contingency plans must be in place
Business owners and operators must ensure that contingency plans have been established and are in operation for cyclones.
Inductions for Crew a Must Under New Worksafe (WA) Regulations
Inductions are an important information sharing session that helps to familiarise people with the locations, equipment, materials, processes and tasks they may encounter while working on a fishing vessel or aquaculture site for the first time.
To achieve the best results, inductions need to be tailored and targeted. They should accommodate all workers involved (i.e. employees, contractors, trainees).
The topics covered typically include:
- hazards and associated risks
- safe work procedures and practices
- communication protocols
- emergency procedures
- workplace facilities.
Workers may require a refresher if:
- they have been absent for some time
- there have been site changes (e.g. modified traffic system)
- the work environment is different to that normally encountered (e.g. switching to night shift for first time).
Site inductions should ensure workers receive appropriate safety information and, before commencing work, can recognise the hazards on site that can harm them. Workers should also understand the control measures in place to protect them from those hazards.
All site inductions should contain an assessment to ensure the required knowledge has been retained by the worker. It is important to review the site’s induction regularly to determine if the content is still relevant.
Site inductions should comprise a formal program that provides workers with an understanding of:
- site layout including emergency muster points
- emergency contact numbers and emergency procedures
- the duty-of-care obligations of the owner, master and workers
- common hazards and risks on the site and their control measures
- basic risk management principles and tools used on site
- reporting processes including hazards, incidents, injuries and faults
- the standard of behaviour expected of workers
- communication and reporting procedures
- the roles and function of health and safety representatives and the health and safety committee.
Area-specific inductions are conducted to inform the worker of specific hazards they may encounter in their work area, and the controls that should be in place before starting tasks.
Items to cover in an area-specific induction can include:
- layout of fishing vessel or aquaculture site (including plant)
- emergency muster points and evacuation procedures
- personal protective equipment and facilities
- first aid facilities
- firefighting equipment for the area
- area hazards and controls.
Visitor inductions are conducted to inform visitors about what is expected of them while on site. The induction may include limitations and the rules for tasks being performed, and requirements for a site escort.
Visitor inductions should also describe the procedure in the event of an emergency and the location of emergency muster points.
Checklist for new workers https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/checklist-new-and-young-workers
AMSA Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Safety Equipment Standards
AMSA has developed proposed changes to Safety Equipment Standards covered under National Standard Commercial Vessels (NSCV C7A).
Consultation on the draft amendments closes 27th November 2023.
To have your say go to: https://www.amsa.gov.au/have-your-say-proposed-changes-nscv-c7a
The last major amendments to NSCV C7A were in 2018.
AMSA has included recent changes made to both Australian & International standards in the draft of NSCV C7A:
- Small craft – Inflatable life-rafts
- Part 1: Type I and type 2 (ISO 9650-1:2022)
- Personal flotation devices
- Part 3: Lifejackets, performance level 150 – Safety requirements (ISO 12402-3:2020)
- Part 1: General requirements (Australian Standard AS4758.1:2022)
- Global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS)
- Part 1: Cospas-Sarsat EPIRB operating on 406 MHz – Operational and performance requirements, methods of testing and required test results (IEC 61097-2 (Ed.4.0) MOD) (AS/NZS 4280.1:2022)
AMSA has also incorporated some recommendations to improve safety at sea from coronial inquiries into vessel fatalities including:
- ‘Ease of access’ placement of an emergency grab bag of necessary basic equipment to assist crew to exit a capsized vessel and locate the grab bag in the sleeping cabin and near the helm.
- Revised guidance on the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs) in high-risk operations and their registration with AMSA.
Key proposed changes:
1. Life-raft standards
- Alternative options for life-raft type on vessels less than 15m (operating in open waters).
- Option of no life-raft requirement for certain vessels less than 7.5m (operating in open waters) if they meet additional conditions.
- Clarification of when existing vessels that are not currently required to carry life-rafts must carry life-rafts and the timeframe to comply.
- Description of correct life-raft securing methods.
2. Lifejacket carriage standards
- Carriage of infant-size lifejackets aligned with Australian and international standards (ISO, SOLAS, AS).
- Greater choice of lifejacket type (ISO or AS of 275N) for vessels operating in B waters.
- Carriage of spare gas cylinders and salt tablets for inflatable lifejackets to meet Tables 2, 3 or 4 in C7A.
- Carriage of additional lifejackets for redundancy when all lifejackets carried to meet tables 2, 3 or 4 in C7A are of the inflatable type.
- End of grandfathering arrangements for kind of lifejackets vessels must carry.
- Existing vessels still carrying lifejackets that do not meet the NSCV standard will have 2 years from the start of the new NSCV C7A to change over to ‘coastal’ lifejackets.
- To assist operators in remote areas carrying inflatable lifejackets to meet NSCV C7A, increased flexibility for location of annual servicing of inflatable lifejackets.
Note: Users of Exemption 39 (marine safety) – Lifejacket lights will need to comply with passenger lifejacket requirements once the exemption expires in 2025.
3. First aid
- Updated first aid and medical scales to align with current Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requirements, including for codeine, which now requires a prescription.
- Clarification that B-waters vessels must seek advice from medical practitioners or pharmacists to determine when they need to carry additional first aid / medical supplies.
4. Other proposed changes
- Updates to reflect recent advances in safety equipment technology, meet international conventions and codes, and lessons learnt through industry experience
- Revised guidance on the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs) in high-risk operations and their registration with AMSA
- Consolidation into NSCV C7A of requirements from across multiple referenced documents into C7A (AMSA General Equivalent Solutions, Marine Order 25, SOLAS, IMO resolutions, and AMSA Exemptions)
- Updated standard for distress flares to comply with the SOLAS / LSA Code or AS2092:2004
- Clarified definitions and improved readability.
Full draft NSCV C7A available at: https://www.amsa.gov.au/have-your-say-proposed-changes-nscv-c7a
Proposed Changes to VHF Radio Arrangements
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have commenced public consultation on proposed changes to VHF maritime mobile channel arrangements.
These changes reflect international regulatory developments over the past 5 years which have been ratified by Australia.
The key amendments the ACMA are proposing will:
- recognise additional satellite systems recognised by the International Maritime Organisation for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
- facilitate the use of autonomous maritime radio devices (AMRD)
- enable a new VHF data exchange system (VDES) satellite component.
For all further information or questions, including how to make a submission, please refer to the ACMA’s consultation page.
You can make a submission until 5 pm (AEDT), Friday 3 November 2023.
AMSA Release Their Regulation Review Plan for 2023-24
It’s going to be another busy year for industry consultation after AMSA released their annual regulation review program for 2023-24.
|Project||Description of Action|
|Marine Orders – made under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act|
|Marine Order 501 (Administration – National Law) 2013||Sunsetting review to update and remake the order under the National Law Act.|
|Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – National Law) 2023||Amendments to improve and streamline safety management system requirements to ensure that safety management systems operate as intended.|
|National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV)|
|Part C1 – Design and construction – Arrangement, accommodation and personal safety||AMSA is undertaking a full review to address technical issues and Coronial recommendations on escape lighting and signage.|
|Part C7A – Design and construction – safety equipment||AMSA is conducting a full review of NSCV Part C7A to address operational issues identified by industry, including with the carriage of safety equipment for vessels less than 12m in length operating close to land.|
|Part G – Non-survey vessels||AMSA is conducting a review to address issues with the carriage of certain items of safety equipment on small vessels and vessels operating close to shore.|
|Omnibus amendments instrument #2||AMSA is undertaking a review to address various identified critical issues across multiple NSCVs, including compatibility with the implementation of emerging technologies.|
Direct any queries about the AMSA regulatory program to [email protected].
Albanese Government Considers ‘Vessel Grandfathering’ Report
The Albanese government has released the final report from an Independent Review Panel into the AMSA domestic maritime safety National Law (Phase 1).
Readers will recall the (Phase 1) Interim Report of this Independent Review Panel was released in August 2022 and recommended removal of the ‘grandfathering provisions’ on vessels and qualifications that had been introduced by Mr Albanese himself as Minister for Transport in 2013 when maritime safety management responsibility was shifted to AMSA under agreement between the Federal government and all State governments.
The Independent Panel (Phase 1) Final Report can be found in full at: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/media/publications/safety-report-independent-review-domestic-commercial-vessel-safety-legislation-and-costs-and
The Panel’s initial recommendation on grandfathering has been amended in the Final Report as per below:
Finding 3: The current grandfathering arrangements and how the transitional standards framework is perceived to operate, act as a disincentive to safety improvements.
Recommendation 2: Safety improvements should be introduced to the current grandfathering arrangements in accordance with a phased risk-based program.
- s that would be required to be surveyed under the risk-based regulatory regime proposed under Recommendation 1, and that are subject to grandfathered survey requirements, should undergo survey inspection to assess gaps and requirements to minimum design and construction standards and comply with baseline requirements for stability, fire safety and electrical safety.
- Owners should be required to rectify inspection findings within two years of inspection, except where the vessel poses a major and imminent safety risk.
- ‘Survey type’ vessels that operate to grandfathered design and construction standards and that are within survey, should continue to meet the standard that applied to the vessel as at 30 June 2013 subject to also complying with baseline requirements for stability, fire safety and electrical safety.
- Grandfathered crewing arrangements should be allowed to continue, subject to the vessel not changing its area of operation, nature of operation or being modified. AMSA should develop an evidence base on the incidence of serious injuries and fatalities associated with these arrangements, and it should draw any new evidence to the attention of the Australian Government.
- Grandfathered Certificates of Competency should be improved by:
– Requiring the registration of Perpetual Certificates with AMSA. Upon registration, these certifications should be recognized by AMSA and reissued subject to Certificate holders being assessed against contemporary health and fitness standards; and,
– Providing logbook evidence of a minimum number of hours applied each year. The minimum number of hours should be determined by AMSA in consultation with industry.
6. The Australian Government should consider establishing a Safety Improvements Package with a suite of time limited incentives to assist with inspections and attaining appropriate standards, from a sustainable funding source.
7. The Australian Government could consider funding arrangements from a sustainable funding source to assist state and territory governments to manage higher numbers of abandoned or derelict vessels due to changes in grandfathering, if this issue arises.
8. These inspections should occur over a two-to-five-year period, with higher risk vessels/operations given greater priority for early inspection
Mr Albanese and State Transport Ministers committed to introducing the ‘grandfathering provisions’ to recognise that many in the Australian commercial vessel fleet (including fishing vessels) were operating quite safely under their existing vessel standards, applying existing management systems and within their existing area of operation and thus should not be forced into major cost imposts to meet the various new vessel standards across jurisdictions for no measurable change in safety benefit.
At the time, June 2013, the Commonwealth and State governments agreed these arrangements should continue unless incident evidence and data dictated the need to adopt an alternative approach.
Industry responded strongly to the Independent Review Panel’s ‘interim report’ recommendations to remove the grandfathering provisions during consultations with the Panel in late 2022/early 2023 outlining why removing grandfathering provisions will be a huge impact on the fishing industry.
Industry needed the Panel to understand clearly that the inference in the Independent Panel’s initial (Phase 1) draft report that ‘grandfathered vessels’ pose an added safety risk when working under their existing survey standards and within existing operational areas, lacked any evidence or data to validate these claims – the very point behind the Governments’ introducing grandfathering in 2013.
Industry also highlighted that changes to the ‘grandfathering’ provisions will also have an impact on master and engineer qualification recognition and as with other agricultural sectors, the fishing industry is already facing significant workforce attraction and retention pressures. Industry has significant concerns that the removal of existing qualification recognition (without adequate evidence) and application of a new set of standards has the potential to cripple the industry overnight.
In early September 2023, the Federal Government announced there would be no further consultation by the Independent Panel and that the Panel had submitted their final (Phase 1) Report. A spokesperson at the time advised the Minister was now considering the report and what will happen next.
The Minister has now released the final report publicly.
There is no indication that further submissions will be encouraged.
There is no indication if, or when, government will make a final response or decision.
The Minister may release the Government’s final response/decision together with proposed legislative changes which then includes a mandatory public consultation process.
WAFIC and other peak industry groups around the country are meeting to determine the next steps in relation to discussions with Government on the recommendations contained in this report.
Note: You can send your views to Minister Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development of Australia Email: [email protected]
NEW SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS FROM 1st August 2023
Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – national law) outlines safety management system requirements (SMS), including risk assessment and crewing levels, for domestic commercial vessels (DCVs).
Recently, Marine Order 504 underwent a review and consultation process which aimed to better align with the recently revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency) and to clarify and strengthen key concepts relating to operational safety onboard vessels.
From June 2023, AMSA will be reaching out to industry to help them understand and meet these new requirements before they come into force on 1 August 2023.
This assistance will take the shape of an education campaign which will point industry to an information hub on the AMSA website: www.amsa.gov.au/marine-order-504-operational-safety-changes
Keep an eye out for AMSA communications over the coming months and be sure to engage.
An online presentation of AMSA workshops explaining the new changes is available at: https://www.amsa.gov.au/marine-order-504-safety-changes/register-information-session
Please feel free to reach out to Steve Whitesmith, AMSA Liaison Manager (WA) with any questions you might have. [email protected] Mob: 0408 976 282
A range of PDFs are also available which feature:
- Infographic explanations of the changes to Marine Order 504
- Checklists to help owners review their SMS, risk assessment and procedures
- An example ‘risk assessment’ to give some guidance on what is required.
These PDFs can be found at:
Train Drill Log Repeat
Introducing New AMSA Liaison Officer in WA – Steve Whitesmith
Chris Battel has been the Liaison Officer covering the Western Australia region since 2015 and has built a strong rapport with industry through his regular visits to regional ports and his personal approach to inquiries.
Chris has recently been promoted to a new role within in AMSA and will now work in ‘Vessel Operations’ working on developing and implementing National operational policy both internally and externally.
While Chris will remain in WA he will no longer continue in the Liaison Officer role for WA.
Steve Whitesmith will move into the Liaison Officer role for WA. Steve has many years experience within industry as Liaison Officer in Northern Territory.
All enquiries should now be directed to Steve at [email protected].
Industry Briefs Minister on Proposal to Remove Vessel Grandfathering Provisions
Combined efforts from peak industry groups across the country has resulted in a letter to the Federal Minister responsible for maritime safety outlining industry’s expectations in relation to the Independent Panel review of AMSA legislation and future cost recovery regime – including why removing grandfathering provisions will be a huge impact on the fishing industry.
The continuous delays in the release of the Independent Panel’s revised Phase 1 report (which includes grandfathering recommendations) has industry members deeply concerned.
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) wrote to Minister Catherine King on behalf of industry seeking the current status of the next iteration of consultation on the Independent Panel’s promised revision of it’s initial draft interim report on AMSA legislation (Phase 1) following consideration of feedback received from stakeholders.
Concurrent with this, SIA sought further detail on the status of the consultation draft interim report for the potential AMSA cost recovery and charging arrangements (Phase 2).
The last formal engagement with industry by the Independent Panel was a series of face-to-face meetings around the country in March 2023.
SIA highlighted that the process timeline was now well outstanding and from recent interactions with AMSA, industry was of the understanding that a revised version of the Phase 1 draft interim report is currently with the Government for consideration, despite a commitment from the Independent Panel to release the revised report to industry for consideration prior to submission to Government.
The industry letter emphasised that the content covered in the review is of great interest to the industry and to ensure that the Minister was personally aware that the initial draft interim report contained items (eg removal of vessel ‘grandfathering’ provisions) that were of major concern to the industry and regional, rural and remote communities in which they operate. The letter went on to highlight these recommendations have implications and ramifications both economically and on the mental health of industry with the potential outcomes of the report having very real impacts on the livelihoods of many people.
SIA made clear that industry has not received a clear update on the content of the re-drafted report, the cause of the delays of it’s release, a timeframe for responsible consultation, or a clear understanding of where the revised draft interim report is currently.
The letter focussed particularly on the potential phasing out of the ‘grandfathering provision’ that has caused the greatest concern and reaction from the broader seafood sector.
SIA reminded the Minister that it was the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) led by then Transport Minister Anthony Albanese that, in 2013, first committed to introducing the ‘grandfathering provisions’ to recognise that many in the Australian commercial vessel fleet (including fishing vessels) were operating quite safely under their existing vessel standards, applying existing management systems and within their existing area of operation and thus should not be forced into major cost imposts to meet the various new vessel standards across jurisdictions for no measurable change in safety benefit.
At the time, governments deemed these arrangements to continue unless incident evidence and data dictated the need to adopt an alternative approach.
The industry letter to the Minister pointed out that the inference in the Independent Panel’s initial draft report that ‘grandfathered vessels’ pose an added safety risk when working under their existing survey standards and within existing operational areas, lacked any evidence or data to validate these claims. The letter sets out that if evidence cannot be provided on why there should be a phasing out of ‘grandfathering’ arrangements or to show how to minimise the impact of any proposed changes, then the seafood industry cannot support any recommendation for removal of ‘grandfathering’ provisions.
The letter went on to highlight that changes to the ‘grandfathering’ provision will also have an impact on master and engineer qualification recognition and as with other agricultural sectors, the fishing industry is already facing significant workforce attraction and retention pressures. Industry has significant concerns that the removal of existing qualification recognition (without adequate evidence) and application of a new set of standards has the potential to cripple the industry overnight.
Note: You can send your views to Minister Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development of Australia Email: [email protected]
WAFIC Says No Removal of Grandfathering Provisions – AMSA Review (Phase 1)
WAFIC has made a submission on behalf of industry to an independent review of the national marine safety system and the supported legislation delivered by Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA).
WAFIC has rejected the wholesale removal of grandfathering provisions from the legislation.
An Independent Review Panel was established in late 2021 and separated the review into two (2) phases:
- Phase 1 – consider whether Australia’s legal framework regulating the safety of domestic commercial vessels is fit for purpose.
- Phase 2 – consider whether this regulatory framework is being delivered efficiently and effectively, and to consider options for future cost recovery arrangements.
The Review Panel provided a document as a consultation aid in early 2022 to assist industry with making a submission in relation to Phase 1 of the review.
Submissions closed 30th November 2022.
WAFIC made significant comments to the Panel in relation to the impacts of winding back grandfathering provisions.
WAFIC emphasised that we do not support the wholesale removal of the grandfathering provisions.
Where is the evidence to remove or phase out grandfathering provisions?
AMSA has done a very good job in all the challenges of adopting the National System through deregulation where justified, risk management in general and cost management. They have taken an evidence-based approach.
There have been three government inquiries into AMSA’s performance since 2017 – by the Productivity Commission, by a Senate Committee and now an Independent Panel Review. All have put some emphasis on grandfathering but none have presented any evidence to support recommendations. The inquiries have referred to recent tragic fatality events and the subsequent Coronial Inquiries but none of those produced any evidence of specific problems created by grandfathering. They have all proceeded to assume that the concept must produce unsafe outcomes and promote a blanket solution – remove grandfathering.
Grandfathering of boats and certificates of competency is a core part of a fisher family stability. Fishery management changes can be stressful and often hard for a fisher to cope with. However, their boat and their credentials are the very stable thing they most understand and depend on. AMSA and government in general changed their world in 2013 with the introduction of the National System but underpinned stability with the COAG grandfathering guarantees. It was changed in 2018 to make any transition more flexible. To now change it again – breaking the 2013 COAG guarantee – would also create a major new level of unjustified stress.
Despite the phasing proposal, large numbers of currently qualified crews would not choose to renew their basic qualifications. Some point to the record entrants to maritime training as replacements but the problem is that large numbers of those graduating are going to the new, rapidly expanding maritime industries such as windfarms, offshore oil/gas operations, and marine aquaculture. It is unrealistic to suggest that Australia could even replace the numbers who would leave, let alone service the expanding industries competing for skilled workers. Instead of the end of grandfathering leading to greater safety, it would logically lead to less experienced crew and a greater safety risk.
It would seem unrealistic to assume the Commonwealth Government (or State Governments) will satisfactorily compensate loss of boats and certificates through a specific Scheme and/or the previous boat-building subsidy. This suggestion is made without quantifying the cost and assessing whether there is boat-building capacity in Australia to achieve re-introduction of the subsidy.
WAFIC supports that government follow normal process to produce good public policy and that before the draft Report on the grandfathering sections is finalised that the Panel:
- Produces actual evidence for the fishing and aquaculture industry as to:
- The extent of grandfathering of both boats and qualifications.
- Exactly where grandfathering has proved a safety problem.
- Where fishing/aquaculture boats/certificates fit in the DCV total incidents and risk profiles.
- Ensures the analysis in (dot 1) clearly identifies any regional and operating differences between classes of vessels.
- Ensures the analysis estimates the actual cost of phasing out grandfathering – rather than general statements on what financial measures might be applied.
- Recognises that there is a serious shortage of formally (certificated) qualified personnel for fishing boats and provide recommendations on how the industry can overcome this if at the same time there are major (inevitable) departures from the industry due to removing grandfathering.
A copy of the final WAFIC submission to Phase 1 can be found at https://www.wafic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/WAFIC-Final-Submision-to-AMSA-Legislation-Review-30-November-2022.pdf
WAFIC Responds to AMSA Independent Review on Cost Recovery (Phase 2)
The Australian Government has commissioned an Independent Review of Australia’s Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety Legislation and Costs and Charging Arrangements (Review).
The Review is in two phases:
- Phase 1 – to consider whether Australia’s legal framework for the safety of domestic commercial vessels (DCVs) is fit for purpose,
- Phase 2 – whether the framework is being delivered efficiently and effectively, and options for future funding arrangements for the National System – including costs recovery.
Phase 1 consultation is complete – see next article in this update.
The review panel released a Phase 2 consultation aid for omment by 27th January 2023.
WAFIC co-ordinated an industry wide submission response as well as an online meeting with the Panel in January 2023.
When considering ‘who pays the costs’ WAFIC suggested the first step is to determine ‘what are the costs?’
WAFIC set out to ensure that there is not a set-and-forget approach to the AMSA service delivery activities and that there is an agreed formal consultation arrangement in place for stakeholders to assist AMSA through regular review and recommendation of changes to the annual service delivery activity program. This supports the industry view that ‘user pays/user has some say’ approach to cost recovery.
The commercial fishing industry has significant experience with cost recovery through application of the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines (Guidelines) within the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and several state jurisdictions over time. In reviewing cost recovery each year AFMA will seek comment on draft budgets from relevant stakeholders such as the relevant peak industry associations, each of the fishery Management Advisory Committees and other relevant consultative bodies using an activity-based costing process.
This consultation process is important and from an AMSA perspective and WAFIC is of the view that this could be carried out through the existing AMSA National Safety Committee and Regional Safety Committees industry advisory processes.
Under the AFMA system the Commonwealth commercial fishing industry pays for those costs directly attributable to the fishing industry while the Australian Government pays for any costs identified as more directly benefiting the broader community or where it is inefficient to recover the cost.
In accordance with the Australian Government Charging Framework and the Guidelines a review and analysis of the activities undertaken by AFMA is conducted to determine which of those should be cost recovered. AFMA applies an activity-based approach to enable the agency to determine the costs associated with each activity within the defined key activity groups.
The AFMA key activity groups provide an overview of the activities included and, most importantly, the beneficiaries of those activities to enable determination of who is responsible for the costs associated with each activity.
WAFIC proposed a combination for the AMSA levy formula incorporating:
- a flat rate per metre of vessel length;
- a tiered level for inspection/audit by Class.
AMSA Proposes Mandatory Marking of Fishing Gear and Reporting Losses
Australia is a signatory to the IMO Convention for Pollution implements Annex V through the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, the Navigation Act 2012 and Marine Order 95. In addition, most state-territory jurisdictions have given effect to MARPOL Annex V in their legislation.
MARPOL Annex V applies to all vessels and covers all garbage generated during normal operations, such as plastics, fishing gear, food, and cargo residues. Annex V currently prohibits the discharge of plastics from ships into the sea and includes mandatory reporting requirements for lost and discharged fishing gear that pose a significant threat to the marine environment or navigation.
The IMO is introducing mandatory marking and reporting of all fishing gear worldwide and is expanding existing reporting requirements for lost and discharged fishing gear.
The IMO will consider the responses from member countries (eg Australia) on the scope of gear and vessels that will be included under the new mandatory marking requirement at a meeting in April 2023.
AMSA launched consultation on the proposed marking of fishing gear requirements.
WAFIC assisted industry members (state and Commonwealth fishers) to co-ordinate a written response to AMSA: https://www.wafic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/WAFIC-Submission-AMSA-Marking-of-Fishing-Gear-January-2023-FINAL.pdf
New Regulations relating to Air Pollution to apply from 1st January 2023.
These changes are the result of an AMSA review of Marine Order 97 (MO97) that included public consultation in March 2022 and again between August-October of 2022.
MO97 deals with the prevention of air pollution from vessels and gives effect to the MARPOL Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from ships (Annex VI).
The reissue of MO97 implements a new short-term measure adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the carbon intensity of by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008 levels.
Fishing Vessels – Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) Certificate
This requirement applies to:
- Owners looking to install a new diesel engine with a power output of more than 130 kW
- Owners looking to do a major conversion on their existing diesel engine with a power output of more than 130 kW
- Suppliers of marine diesel engines to DCVs or recreational vessels with a power output of over 130kW
- People who carry out a major conversion on marine diesel engines for DCVs or recreational vessels with a power output of over 130kW
- People intending to construct a new domestic commercial vessel (DCV) and install diesel engines with a power output of more than 130 kW
MO97 requires an engine international air pollution prevention (EIAPP) certificate and associated technical file to be issued for all marine diesel engines with a power output of more than 130 kW. For DCVs, this requirement applies to all marine diesel engines installed or that undergo a major conversion from 1 January 2023.
Diesel engine suppliers and persons who carry out a major conversion will be required to provide an EIAPP certificate and the technical file with any new marine diesel engine with a power output of more than 130 kW for installation on a DCV or certain recreational vessels.
Existing marine diesel engines installed before 1 January 2023 don’t require an EIAPP certificate or associated technical file. However, they will be required to obtain an EIAPP certificate and technical file for each diesel engine with a power output of more than 130kW on the vessel if:
- The engine undergoes a major conversion after 1 January 2023, or
- The vessel intends to undertake an overseas voyage (for example, to undertake maintenance or on a delivery voyage).
Note: From 1 January 2023, Exemption 44–Marine Safety (Domestic commercial vessels – EIAPP Certificate) (Ex44) will no longer be applicable to MO97. However, EX44 will remain applicable to MO503.
For more information on EIAPP) Certificate: https://www.amsa.gov.au/eiapp-certs-and-technical-files
Marine Incidents in WA Fishing Industry
AMSA recently provided data into incidents across all WA domestic commercial vessels between 2020 and 2022 covering contact, collision, grounding or close quarters (near miss).
Of 161 incidents reported only 23 (14%) involved the fishing industry with 11 of the incidents groundings and 6 collisions.
Other groups were Class 2 working boats (eg tugs, barges and lighters) at 45% and Class 1 passenger vessels (eg ferries) at 37%.
The leading problems across all fleets were human factors with 23% of incidents lookout/collision avoidance and 20% vessel handling/loss of control.
Managing Fatigue – Is Everyone’s Responsibility.
Owners, masters and crew must take reasonable steps to ensure their vessel and fellow crew are safe – this includes managing the risks presented by fatigue in the workplace. Involving crew in the management of fatigue is a critical part of this management process.
AMSA has produced a paper to assist in understanding the causes and consequences of fatigue to assist reducing safety hazards and improve health, wellbeing, and performance across the maritime industry.
What is fatigue?
Fatigue is a state of weariness. It can develop quickly – for example, if you are doing heavy lifting. It can also develop slowly – for example, if you lose an hour of sleep a few nights in a row.
Suffering from fatigue for a prolonged period of time is associated with serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, mental health issues and stress levels.
Generally, people need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to perform adequately and effectively. Poor quality sleep is when sleep is disturbed by things like – diet, fitness, light, noise, motion, alcohol, drugs or stress.
Fatigue can also accumulate when you do not get extra sleep to make up for lost sleep – sometimes referred to as a ‘sleep debt’.
A survey of more than 1000 crew working across a wide range of commercial vessels in Australia found a concerning knowledge gap when it came to identifying and managing fatigue.
- One in three began work on a vessel already in a fatigued state
- 40% had less than six hours of sleep in any given 24-hour period
- Participants struggled to identify lesser-known behavioural signs of fatigue like slurred speech and risk taking
- 50% had not received any fatigue management training or guidance.
What happens when you are fatigued?
Fatigued crew are very likely to make mistakes, putting themselves and others at risk.
Some of the tell-tale signs of fatigue are:
- Physical: Inability to stay awake (head nodding, microsleeps or falling asleep involuntarily), difficulty with hand-eye coordination, slurred or garbled speech, dropping objects like tools or parts, digestion problems.
- Cognitive: Focusing on trivial problems and neglecting important ones, slow or no response to abnormal or emergency situations, lapses of attention, poor judgement of distance, speed and time, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly.
- Behavioural: Decreased tolerance and/or antisocial behaviour, irregular mood changes, ignoring normal checks and procedures, increasing mistakes and carelessness.
It is recommended owners work with crew to examine what a typical 24-hour period looks like for them, factoring in both:
- time spent working on a the vessel and
- time spent on other activities like commuting and being at home.
Implement short rest breaks during operations, rotating activities that crew have been assigned (where appropriate) and creating opportunities for ‘strategic napping’.
Note: Research shows that naps as short as 10/15 minutes can deliver measurable benefits and help maintain performance while staving off fatigue.
Help them identify a ‘window for sleep’, where they can have a minimum guaranteed 7 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep.
If possible, avoid scheduling critical operations between the hours of 3am-6am and 3pm-5pm, when crew are most likely to be drowsy or have an urge to sleep. If that’s not possible due to the nature of your operation, ensure other mitigation strategies are in place as outlined in this guidance hub.
The maritime work environment is stressful on crew and can make fatigue from lack of sleep worse. Common environmental stressors on crew are cold, vibration, heat, noise and vessel motion.
The impacts of a crew member’s lifestyle and home demands must be factored into an holistic approach to fatigue management.
Lifestyle factors and home demands may not be within the strict control of a commercial vessel owner or operator, but that doesn’t negate the need to increase awareness of the benefits that a healthy lifestyle and supportive home environment can have on increasing a crew member’s resilience against fatigue. Where it can’t be controlled, it should be factored into operational planning.
AMSA Fatigue guidance paper can be found at: https://www.amsa.gov.au/vessels-operators/domestic-commercial-vessels/managing-crew-fatigue
Outcomes from Review of AMSA Certificates of Competency (Marine Order 505)
All fishing vessels require masters and engineers to hold tickets (certificates of competency) to meet the type of vessel they are working on. Under the new AMSA legislative framework for these certificates are now found under Marine Order 505 (previously NSCV Part 7).
A review has just been completed to ensure that the tickets are relevant to a wide range of roles and vessel marine operations, while maintaining safety standards. The review was part of the AMSA focus to develop a nationally consistent and simplified qualifications framework.
AMSA has finalised the revised Marine Order 505 and this will into effect on 1 January 2023.
The new marine Order includes all the previous content contained in NSCV Part D and makes no changes to the popular certificates Master 24 NC, Coxswain 1 and 2.
The following key changes have been made to the certificates:
- Coxswain Grade 3 – is a new near coastal certificate of competency which replaces the current Exemption 38 arrangements;
- The Cox 3 ticket provides basic seamanship knowledge and skills, and it replaces the current Exemption 38 (Low complexity duties) arrangements.
- A Cox 3 holder may operate small domestic commercial vessels in smooth waters or close to shore.
- Cox 3 certificate holders are required to acquire job specific training and skills in accordance with their organisation’s Safety Management Systems (SMS), in addition to meeting the eligibility criteria for the certificate.
- Importantly, a person who meets the eligibility criteria for the Coxswain Grade 3 the person can operate without having to apply for a certificate of competency.
- Once the eligibility criteria have been satisfied, applying for a Coxswain Grade 3 certificate is optional.
- General Purpose Hand Certificate – is required for deck crew who are under ‘general supervision’. No requirement for a GPH ticket for crew under ‘direct supervision’.
- direct supervision – means that the person being supervised is frequently within sight and hearing of the supervisor. (most fishing vessels)
- general supervision – means that the person being supervised receives instruction and direction on tasks, and recurrent personal contact from the supervisor, but is not frequently attended by the supervisor.
There were also some changes to the sea time requirements, endorsements and restrictions for the certificates of competency.
The standard for the assessment of medical fitness for masters and crew of domestic commercial vessels has been modified under the new Marine Order 505, and a medical certificate is now required for the ‘first issue’ of all certificates of competency, and the validity duration of the certificate varies depending on age.
Finally, the new Marine Order 505 incorporated the provisions for the approval of registered training organisations to conduct mandated practical assessments, and the conditions of the approval, with only minor changes to the previous arrangements.
The full Marine Order 505 and explanatory documents can be found at: https://www.amsa.gov.au/about/regulations-and-standards/new-marine-order-505-certificates-competency-commencing-1-january
AMSA Seeking to Simplifying Safety Management – Vessel Less than 7.5 metres
AMSA carried out a preliminary fact finding survey in May 2022 for operators of Class 2, 3 and 4 vessels less than 7.5m in length relating to simplifying safety management.
All operators received email from AMSA requesting completion of the survey by end May 2022.
The survey was designed to provide initial guidance to AMSA as to which parts of the existing SMS requirements in the National Law that operators of vessels <7.5m believe works or doesn’t work for their unique operation.
The findings in the survey will enable AMSA to development a more detailed discussion paper for full public consultation later in 2022 with a view to developing simplified SMS requirements for these smaller operators.
Industry has been advising AMSA that parts of the SMS requirements can seem complicated and possibly impractical for some small vessel operators trying to work through documents more suited to larger and more complex operations.
WAFIC will ensure all owners of fishing vessels <7.5m are part of the future public consultation process.
Focus on the Importance of Marine Incident Reporting
AMSA will be focusing attention on the importance of marine incident reporting.
Reporting is essential to maritime safety as it helps paint a more informed picture of the risks affecting the industry.
By reporting, you can help us develop more effective safety strategies and advice for owners, operators, and crew to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
Incident reporting is a collective effort by crew, vessel operators and vessel owners to make the industry and vessels safer places to work.
Reporting incidents also helps AMSA to respond quickly and efficiently to an incident when it occurs.
If in doubt, report the incident anyway. Your experiences helps develop improved safety understanding and education.
How to report an incident: https://www.amsa.gov.au/marine-incident-reporting/how-report-incident
IMPORTANT: New WA Workplace Safety Laws Commence 31st March 2022
The WA Minister for Industrial Relations announced recently that the new WA Work Health and Safety Act 2020 and Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022 would commence on 31 March 2022. Go to: https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/safety-regulation/introduction-whs-laws
Previous editions of the WAFIC Newsletter have extensively outlined the content and impacts on your industry from the introduction of the new WA Work Health & Safety Act and regulations.
The new WHS laws impose a primary duty of care on persons conducting a business or undertaking to reasonably ensure the health and safety of workers.
It is important that vessels owners (including all directors and partners) are actively involved in ensuring safe systems of work are in place on your vessel, crews are trained (especially in emergency procedures) and you can demonstrate regular review of the safety systems, training and having carried out emergency procedure drills.
The new laws include ‘industrial manslaughter’ options that carry a maximum penalty of between 5 and 20 years imprisonment for an individual and a maximum $10 million fine for a body corporate. Other new aspects include increased penalties, prohibiting insurance coverage for WHS penalties and the introduction of enforceable undertakings as an alternative penalty.
Small businesses, including family fishing operations, all company directors and operators could face serious penalties for something they did not deliberately or knowingly intend. Employers and company directors could be jailed and/ or face bankruptcy for an offence that they had not anticipated an accident could occur.
Transitional arrangements to provide sufficient time for duty holders to adapt their safe systems of work have been agreed but only for new laws which did not exist in the old legislation.
The government has taken the view that laws which are the same as those that existed under the old legislation will apply immediately the new Act commences in March 2022.
That means inspectors will be making sure workplaces align with most of the legislation immediately – ie from 31stMarch 2022.
Worksafe WA has released the following explanatory documents:
- Overview documentation – the Act and accompanying WHS (General) Regulations.
- Legislation Implementation Statement.
- Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
- Prosecution Policy.
These guidance documents provides an overview of the structure of the WHS general regulations and aims to help business owners and operators identify what duties or rights are contained in each Part of the regulations.
A new concept in the legislation is ‘person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)’.
A PCBU owes a primary duty of care to workers in a business or undertaking if it:
- engages or causes the engagement of workers to carry out work, or
- directs or influences workers carrying out work
A ‘PCBU’ can include:
– a body corporate (company) including directors and shareholders both individually, and collectively;
– an unincorporated body or association;
– a sole trader or self-employed person;
– individuals who are in a partnership both individually, and collectively.
Importantly all PCBU duty-holders must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the environment at a workplace is without risks to health and safety.
It requires provision of suitable and adequate information, training, and instruction to workers and imposes duties regarding the general working environment and facilities for workers, first aid, emergency plans, storage of flammable or combustible substances, falling objects and confined, remote or isolated work.
For the full Worksafe overview document go to:https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/overview_general_regulations.pdf
Stay Afloat Program – Mental Health Management for the Fishing Industry
Australia’s commercial fishers endure mental health problems at almost double the rate of the general population; and almost half of those who reported problems hadn’t reached out for help because they thought no one would understand the pressures of the industry – but, now there is somewhere to make sure they do.
Stay Afloat Australia is the national mental health pilot program designed to support the mental wellness and education of members of the Australian Seafood industry – and their families. StayAfloat is educating healthcare workers about the Australian seafood industry, its operations and stressors helping them understand the history of commercial fishing in a region by providing them with resources to learn a little more about the local industry and what the life of a fisher is like.
The program is run by Seafood Industry Australia. You can get involved with Stay Afloat in a number of ways and make 2022 a year of wellbeing!
Trusted Local Industry Advocates
StayAfloat works with local industry leaders to find Trusted Advocates who are available to lend a listening ear and provide fishers and families with support by:
- Having a chat – sometimes we all need an ear, and your advocates know and understand the pressures you’re facing.
- They can offer you tips on wellness and stress management;
- Help you to connect with an expert;
- And, educate your local healthcare providers on the commercial fishing industry so they’ll understand what you’re up against if you reach out for help.
If you are interested in becoming a Trusted Advocate in your local seafood community contact Jo at StayAfloat on [email protected]
Trusted Advocates are only trained to provide a listening ear and to help guide you to professional support services, they are not crisis counsellors.
Should you or someone close to you be in crisis or immediate danger please call 000, or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.
The final round of Community Resilience grants is now open. These are a great way to celebrate and support our industry colleagues.
Grants of up to $2,000 are available to members of the commercial seafood community to go towards activities that connect people to each other and contribute to wellbeing:
- hold a BBQ alongside your next AGM,
- organise a community walk,
- arrange speakers to attend your port meetings
- team up with your local community to showcase the great work of our commercial fishers, or
- something else you’ve always wanted to do in your community.
Applications are super easy for these low-admin grants. Program manager, Jo Marshall, is always on hand to help you step through the process.
For more information go to www.stayafloat.com.au/grants
3. How Can I Help a Mate – Free Mental Health First Aid Training
Ever wanted to know how to help a friend or mate who is struggling?
Interested in Mental Health First Aid but too busy to attend a course?
Stay Afloat offers Mental Health First Aid training online in the comfort of your own home or office. The course is FREE for anyone involved in the seafood industry – that includes fishers, deckhands, employees of commercial fishing businesses, processors, retailers, suppliers to industry and even their family members over 18 years of age.
Tailored to your industry, this training involves:
- 5-7 hours of self-paced e-learning,
- 2 x 2.5 hour Zoom workshops where you’ll be guided through how to have conversations to help people experiencing crisis or possible mental health problems.
Over 160 people have already completed this training and the feedback has been phenomenal. “I’ve always been a person that people come to with their problems. Now, I finally know what to say and how to help them” – Fran, Unloader, Darwin.
If that sounds, like you, or if you are interested in learning more, head to either of the following links for more information and to register.
Watch stories on Stay Afloat Program
VIDEO: Staying Afloat: Mental health care for fishers Kristy O’Brien at abc.net.au
Want to hold your own Mental Health first aid in house? If you can get 10 or more people together from your company or community, we’ll provide it at times, dates and locations to suit you – and yes, it’s still FREE!
Make Sure You Operate Your Vessel to Survey Limits
Vessels are surveyed and classed in regards to what operations they are undertaking:
- Class 1 – Passenger Vessels;
- Class 2 – Non-passenger vessels like workboats etc;
- Class 3 – Fishing Vessels; and,
- Class 4 – Hire and Drive.
A vessel is then restricted to one of four operational category limits of operating:
- A (unlimited)
- B (200nm),
- C (30nm),
- D (Sheltered waters), and
- E (Smooth Waters).
Note: The distance (unless specified differently on the Certificate of Survey conditions) is from the Territorial Baseline and not from the shoreline – a common mistake.
Combining the class and operating category ends up with a vessel being classified (eg 1B, 2B, 3B) which appears on the vessel’s Certificate of Survey.
Vessels can also have multiple operating categories attached to their vessel.
There are also variations to this where the states marine authorities or AMSA have bestowed operational conditions limiting vessels within those categories (eg It is not uncommon to see older fishing vessels with 3B having a 100nm restriction for various reasons).
Vessel categories are determined against a number of considerations such as (but not limited to):
- structural capacity to meet certain environmental and operating conditions
- accommodation facilities and crew amenities
- lifesaving equipment
Vessels are usually built to a specific Class then surveyed against the standards required for that particular category by an Approved Surveyor.
Vessels also require appropriate qualifications to be held by the skipper and engineer on a vessels and failure to do so may be in breach of their Certificate of Competency conditions.
Vessels that operate commercially outside of their survey and operational categories are in breach of their survey conditions and subject to compliance action.
This ‘out of survey or category’ activity may also void the insurance for a vessel should there be an incident.
Any concerns can be reported anonymously by submitting a safety concern so that AMSA can follow up directly with the operator. Go to: https://www.amsa.gov.au/vessels-operators/incident-reporting/report-marine-safety-concern
AMSA TO PROVIDE 24-HOUR MONITORING OF HF DISTRESS RADIOTELEPHONE FROM 1 JANUARY 2022
From 1 January 2022, AMSA will provide 24-hour nationwide monitoring of high frequency (HF) radiotelephone distress, urgency and safety communications in Australia.
This service had previously been provided by the States and Northern Territory.
There are three services that AMSA will support with its HF radiotelephone capability. They are:
- 24-hour nationwide monitoring of HF radiotelephone distress urgency and safety communication on 4 125, 6 215, 8 291, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz. Further detail on this service is available here: https://www.amsa.gov.au/safety-navigation/search-and-rescue/responding-search-and-rescue
- Promulgation of maritime safety information (MSI) in the form of AUSCOAST and NAVAREA X navigational warnings. Further detail on this service, including timings and frequencies, is available here: https://www.amsa.gov.au/safety-navigation/navigation-systems/maritime-safety-information
- 24-hour nationwide HF radiotelephone test call service on 4 125, 6 215, 8 291, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz.
There should be minimal impact on mariners during the transition of responsibility. In the meantime, it is important to stress there will be no change to:
- Australian Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and forecasting;
- AMSA’s HF digital selective calling (DSC) service including navigational warnings; or
- Ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore or shore-to-ship for general or public communication (where available).
For more information, please contact [email protected]
Simplified Safety Equipment Rules – Small Inshore Fishing Vessel Operations
Following feedback from fishing vessel operators that the safety equipment requirements for small fishing vessels operating close to land do not reflect the risks of their operations and are impractical to apply, AMSA has simplifies the safety equipment lists.
WAFIC submitted a comprehensive submission in conjunction with the Southern Seafood Producers (WA) promoting safety equipment requirements in line with agreements reached with the Department of Transport (WA) in 2013.
Consultation feedback received by AMSA is available at: https://www.amsa.gov.au/consultation-feedback-report-simplified-equipment-lists-small-fishing-vessels
AMSA has created new equipment lists for non-survey vessels that are less than 12 metres long, work close to land and operate either under Exemption 2 (certificates of survey) or Exemption 40 (class C restricted operations).
The NEW safety equipment requirements apply to two different groups of vessel operations.
- Non-survey vessels operating in warms waters (defined as North of Coral Bay – latitude 23.5º South) and within 2 nautical miles of land;
- Non-survey beach fishing vessels operating within 200 metres of land (If you transit beyond 200 metres of land to reach your operational area this equipment list is not applicable to your vessel).
Detailed information on lists and operating arrangements can be found at the following links:
- Warm waters vessels– https://www.amsa.gov.au/new-safety-equipment-lists/non-survey-fishing-vessels-operating-warm-waters-and-within-2-nautical
- Beach fishing vessels– https://www.amsa.gov.au/new-safety-equipment-lists/non-survey-beach-fishery-vessels-operating-anywhere-australia
If you operate under these conditions you don’t need to apply to AMSA to use the equipment lists. Simply make sure you carry all the equipment now required.
Should you need to contact AMSA call Chris Battel, Liaison Manager (WA) 0437 788 291 / [email protected] or AMSA Connect 1800 627 484
Compulsory Carriage of Float-Free EPIRBs From January 2021
AMSA sought industry comment in late 2017 on proposed changes which, if made, would require the carriage of a float-free emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on most domestic commercial vessels operating more than 2 nautical miles seaward from land.
The overwhelming number of submissions supported the proposed changes and the concept of mandating broader carriage of float-free EPIRBs. However, a number of concerns were raised about the additional costs for vessel owners, and also the appropriateness of mandating float-free EPIRBs on smaller vessels.
AMSA General Manager of Standards Brad Groves said float-free EPIRBs offer significant safety advantages for crew and passengers on vessels in distress.
If a vessel rapidly capsizes or sinks, the survival of the passengers and crew depends on the transmission of a distress signal.” Mr Groves said. “A float-free auto-activating EPIRB can send a call for help within minutes of being submerged in water, without any action by the crew.”
Mr Groves said AMSA is giving industry a two-year transition period to plan for the added cost of fitting a float-free EPIRB, but encouraged owners to fit one to their vessel as soon as possible.
AMSA has amended standards to require the following vessels to carry a float-free EPIRB:
– all fishing vessels (Class 3) equal to or greater than 12m in length and operate beyond 2 nautical miles seaward from land
– all fishing vessels (Class 3) that are less than 12m in length operating in B or C waters but only if the vessel does not have level flotation. Vessels that are less than 12m with level flotation (and those vessels operating between 2 nautical miles out to ‘C waters’) can continue to carry the kind of EPIRB currently required and will not be affected by these changes, and
The revisions to NSCV Part C7B, Part G and Part F2 will commence on 1 January 2019 – however, a 24 month transitional periodhas been agreed for vessel owners to install a float free EPIRB meaning the new requirements will not become mandatory until 1 January 2021.
Operators who wish to start carrying a float-free EPIRB prior to this date are encouraged to do so.
What about vessels less than 7.5 metres?
AMSA understands that carriage of a float-free EPIRB on some smaller, open vessels may be challenging. Over the coming months, AMSA will be developing a general equivalent solution (GES) for vessels less than 7.5 metres in length affected by these changes. Vessel owners do not need to apply to use the general equivalent solution (GES).
AMSA has published guidance to assist owners and operators of fishing vessels with the new requirements relating to float-free EPIRBS.
AMSA has a video on float free EPIBS at https://www.amsa.gov.au/news-community/news-and-media-releases/mandatory-float-free-epirbs
If you have any questions on these changes, Click Here.
Why Do You Need to Do Safety Training on a Fishing Vessel?
Recent changes to marine safety and workplace safety rules place a greater focus on owners of fishing vessels to develop safety management plans for the vessel operations.
These new rules also require owners to demonstrate that they have trained their skippers and crew to understand and implement that safety management plan on the fishing vessel.
To learn all about the changes read the other articles on this WAFIC Safety and Training website page.
This page has links below to the two government agencies that cover fishing vessels:
- Marine vessel safety – Australian Maritime Safety Authority
- Workplace safety – Worksafe WA
Under both sets of rules there is a list of actions an owner must do before a vessel goes to sea:
- Ensure vessel meets survey requirements and the skipper has the correct tickets to drive that vessel.
- Go around the vessel and spot all the hazards of the fishing operation (eg. winches, ropes, hooks, netdrums, confined spaces, working heights, man overboard, fire, sinking vessel, poor ocean conditions, knives, coming alongside, refuelling and using chemicals).
- Work out the level of risk associated with each hazard – high, medium or low.
- Work out how best to minimise the risk of that hazard impacting the crew (eg. covers on winches, rope coil bins, harness when working at heights, lifejackets and harness in poor weather, buddy system when entering confined spaces, agreed action plan for man overboard.
- You should document each hazard, the assessed risk level and the process you have developed to manage that hazard. This is your safety management system. For help go to: http://fishsafeaustralia.com.au/sms-templates
- Assess the compliance of your safety management system (plan).
Go to link: http://fishsafeaustralia.com.au/sms-compliance
- Train your crew on how each hazard will be managed – especially emergency procedures for man overboard, fire or abandon ship.
- Carryout regular practice drills during the season on emergency procedures for man overboard, fire or abandon ship.
- Carryout practice drills for emergency procedures as soon as a new crew member joins the vessel (no matter how experienced they might be).
- You should document all training and practice drills and require skippers and crew to sign off that they have completed all the training and practice drills.
What is Safety Training for a Fishing Vessel?
Training your crew in the safety procedures on your vessel is no different to how you train them to retrieve and set a pot or trap, handle a lobster to maximise quality, prepare the trawl net for fishing or fillet a fish to maximise recovery.
Safety training requires you to work with your crew to help them:
- to understand the fishing operations on your vessel,
- to accept that there are hazards that are around them while working on the boat,
- to acknowledge there is a range of risks in what they are doing at any time, and
- to train (through demonstration and practice) in the way you want them to work in each situation aboard your vessel.
In most cases safety training is common sense and most vessel owners have been doing this training for many crew over many years.
What is important now is for you to take a little more time to formalise your training:
- document what specific approach you have decided upon to manage a hazardous activity (eg. how will crew operate the pot winch)
- document how you are going to train your crew to do that activity safely (demonstrate preferred operation, start with slow winch speed, stop and explain at critical moments to elaborate on important points, oversee practice)
- document when you have trained them and get them to sign off they have done it (enter in vessel log and crew sign as well/provide crew a safety training book)
Formal pre-sea training is also available at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) such as TAFE or an independent training or work health and safety business. For example:
- Elements of Shipboard Safety
- General Purpose Hand (Deckhand).
Some RTOs may provide vessel specific or group training in regional ports.
Online courses are also available: SeSafe – http://fishsafeaustralia.com.au/safety-training.
NEW INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER LAWS IN WA – MAXIMUM 20 YEARS PRISON
The McGowan Government’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill passed the Legislative Assembly on November 3, 2020 and will become law once the supporting regulations are finalised next year.
The new laws cover modern employment relationships, such as subcontractors or casual workers, not just the classic employer/employee relationship. In particular, they will introduce the term ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’.
The new legislation includes criminalising ‘industrial manslaughter’ that includes a maximum penalty of between five and 20 years of imprisonment for an individual and a maximum $10 million fine for a body corporate. Industry has raised concerns throughout the debate on this Bill that the threshold for charges of category 1 offences for industrial manslaughter are too low.
Small businesses including family farming operations, commercial fishers and any other employer or company director could face serious penalties for something they did not deliberately or knowingly intend and thus potentially criminalises accidents. Employers and company directors could be jailed and/ or face bankruptcy for an offence that they had not anticipated an accident could occur.
There are concerns that these businesses and undertakings now exposed to jail time and heavy fines could lead employers to question the hiring of future employees or even if they will stay in business.
Amendments proposed in the Upper House by the Shooters and Fishers Party to increase the threshold test for category 1 manslaughter offences by changing wording from “a failure to comply with a health and safety duty” to “gross negligence”, did not achieve majority support in the Upper House as the Nationals WA did not back the amendment.
The amendments would have required prosecutors to implement of a test of ‘reckless negligence and deliberately exposing workers to harm’ that many felt was fair and that those convicted of offences under such wording should be liable for tough penalties. Gross negligence is the standard test applied in Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern.
Other new aspects include increased penalties, prohibiting insurance coverage for WHS penalties and the introduction of enforceable undertakings as an alternative penalty.
Trevor Whittington, CEO WAFarmers, told Farm Weekly in late October “This is one of the biggest risks that farm businesses now face – it’s right up there with planning for a drought. Wholesale changes to how they operate need to happen immediately, which may include terminating employees if they lack the skills. The days of training and giving anyone a go are now gone. Serious decisions like, instead of running two bits of older equipment, replacing it with one big piece of equipment and terminating staff will be made. This will cost jobs.”
WAFarmers has called on all political parties to put $10m on the table over the next four years to put in a comprehensive safety training regime and change the culture of the agricultural industry.
The McGowan government claims the new laws will harmonise WA with other States although amendments have been made to tailor the laws to reflect unique aspects of workplaces in this State.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will be developing resources to assist workplace participants in adapting to the new laws. These will be available closer to the date the new laws become operational and will include information about the new regulations.
Full story go to: https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/bills.nsf/BillProgressPopup?________________________________________________________________________________________
AMSA Simplifies Recreational Use of Commercial Fishing Vessels
Using your commercial fishing vessel for recreational purposes just got easier. Approval is no longer required from AMSA to operate recreationally under Exemption 04.
There are still limitations and important conditions that you need to follow if you are going to operate recreationally. To operate under Exemption 04 your vessel must:
- be used only recreationally and not be used at the same time or in connection with a commercial, governmental or research activity
- comply with maximum load and passenger restrictions
- comply with local recreational vessel requirements, except those requiring the vessel to be registered as a recreational vessel or to meet Australian Builder’s Plate requirements
- deal with the risks of operating recreationally in the your vessel’s safety management system (SMS)
- secure or isolate any powered equipment, lifting equipment or other machinery that could present a danger to passengers
- record any recreational use in the vessel’s log book.
Operating under Exemption 04 does not make your vessel a ‘recreational vessel’.
All commercial vessel requirements other than crewing and operational area continue to apply including:
- the requirement to obtain a certificate of survey for the vessel and comply with any conditions; and,
- complying with the general safety duties, including implementing and maintaining a safety management system (SMS) for the your vessel.
Exemption 04 cannot be used to take a domestic commercial vessel overseas or to another location.
National Marine Safety Management – Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA)
From 1stJuly 2018, the Australian Marine Safety Management Authority (AMSA) tookover sole responsibility for marine management of commercial vessels in Australia, including all fishing vessels.
AMSA has several communications options for vessel owners, skipper or crew.
Access services online – www.amsa.gov.au has a variety of new features and information. Since July 2018 you can transact online at a time that suits you. Find self-service tools and resources to help keep you up to date with your safety obligations.
Talk to a Person – AMSA Connect (1800 627 484)– operators will be available from 8am to 5pm (Western Standard Time) so you can talk to one of their highly skilled customer service team when you need to. They will answer most of your questions on the spot or refer you to AMSA’s technical operators for more complex questions.
They will also guide you through application processes, take payments, and book assessments for tickets.
Visit in person – Regional services will be available from one of 19 AMSA offices around Australia. Staff will be on hand to give you technical advice and assist you with your safety management systems. They’ll also conduct higher-level assessments and perform compliance and enforcement activities.
WA: Steve Whitesmith (WA Liaison Officer) Tel 08 9430 2100 /email: [email protected] / mob: 0408 976 282 / Level 3, No.3 Cantonment Street, Fremantle WA 6959
To understand how to access your historical records from the WA Department of Transport (Marine) go to: https://www.amsa.gov.au/vessels-operators/transition-national-system/western-australia-changes-domestic-commercial-vessel
Guidance materials and fact sheets on what you need to do for your vessels CLICK HERE
Safety Management Systems Required on All Vessels
All fishing vessels in Australia will require a formal Safety Management System (SMS) under both workplace and marine safety legislation across the nation.
What is a safety management system and why do I need one? Follow this link to find out. CLICK HERE
A sample safety management system (SMS) for a fishing vessel can be found here
You Must Have Your Vessel’s Stability Documentation – What Happens If NOT!!
From July 2017, marine safety services are to be delivered across the nation by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The WA Department of Transport DoT(WA) will no longer be conducting vessel surveys.
Under the new national marine safety laws – National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) – it is a requirement that stability documentation is on-board a vessel.
The stability documentation must reflect the current configuration of the vessel and be consistent with the class and operation of the vessel.
Survey checklists to be used by official vessel surveyors will contain a specific requirement to check if appropriate vessel stability documentation is on-board.
DoT(WA) has identified that there may be issues in the future that where stability data is not available on-board, the accredited marine surveyor may not be in a position to finalise a periodic survey and this may stop a vessel going to sea.
So what to do if you do not have stability documentation on-board your vessel?
- Check your records ashore for the vessel’s stability documentation
- Check with any previous owners to obtain a copy of the stability documentation
- Check with the vessel’s builder/designer for a copy of the stability documentation
If the owner is able to obtain the documentation this way the owner must check that the stability documentation fits the vessel’s current configuration – layout, loading and fishing operations. If the stability documentation is correct the owner must ensure that the documentation is retained on-board.
If you are unable to obtain stability documentation for your vessel, DoT(WA) has agreed to provide vessel owners with stability documentation for their vessel between now and 1st July 2017. After this date access to vessel files and historical data will not be as easily accessible by authorities. It is important to stress that any information provided by DoT WA would only represent the stability information as of the date of any approval held on file.
It is the responsibility of the owner/operator to ensure that approved stability information is carried on-board and is relevant for the vessel’s configuration.
During annual surveys from now until July 2017, vessels will be checked for current stability documentation. Where no documentation is provided DoT(WA) will offer advice to owners/skippers on how to go about obtaining the required data as follows:
- Owners should contact DoT WA Commercial Vessel Safety Branch for assistance. DoT WA will check the vessel files for any stability documentation.
- If a copy is held on file, which is often the case, DoT WA will advise the owner and:
- If the documentation is subject to Intellectual Property (IP) restrictions (e.g. the documentation has been produced by an existing shipbuilder, designer or marine consultant) the owner will be advised of the contact details;
- The vessel owner will need to obtain written confirmation from the IP holder to allow release of the documentation by DoT(WA);
- Once DoT(WA) receive a release authorisation from the IP holder, an electronic copy of the documentation will be made available to the vessel owner; and
- If the documentation is not subject to Intellectual Property restrictions an electronic copy of the documentation will be made available to the owner.
DoT(WA) will not charge a fee for the provision of an electronic copy of your vessel’s stability documentation.
There will be cases where DoT WA does not have stability documentation on file, such as in the case of a vessel that has transferred to WA from other States. The vessel owner will need to obtain the required stability documentation from the relevant IP holder or state marine authority.
Where stability documentation for the vessel cannot be acquired at all, or the stability information obtained no longer reflects the vessels current arrangement, layout, loading and operations, the owner will be required to have appropriate stability documentation prepared and approved by an AMSA accredited marine surveyor.
Note: In the past in WA, certain types of Class 3 commercial fishing vessels were exempt from requiring stability documentation. The exemption from having to hold stability documentation for these commercial vessels will continue so long as they still meet the conditions of the exemption.
For further assistance please contact:
Commercial Vessel Safety Branch, Department of Transport (WA), Address: 1 Essex Street, Fremantle, WA, 6160
Tel: 1300 723 226 / (08) 9435 7601 Email: [email protected]
How does ‘Grandfathering’ Work for your Vessel?
AMSA have released a Fact Sheet to guide vessel owners on the survey arrangements for vessels that have received ‘grandfather’ status from the time the National Marine Safety System was introduced in 2013. Click Here
Grandfathering arrangements allow existing vessels to continue operating under the survey requirements that existed before the introduction of the National System ONLY WHERE the vessel has not been significantly modified or stability affected by equipment additions.
If this is the case the standards that applied to the vessel when the WA Certificate of Survey (CoS) was last issued prior to 2013 will continue to apply. The vessel owner does not have to upgrade the vessel or its equipment to meet the ‘new National System standards’ and the vessel is able to continue being surveyed in accordance with the survey requirements that applied under the WA Certificate of Survey.
If a ‘grandfathered’ vessel is due for a new CoS issued under the new national Marine Safety System he owner will need to contact an accredited marine surveyor to assess whether the vessel still meets the requirements that applied to it before 1 July 2013.
Areas specified as Restricted C operational areas
AMSA has a advisory notes that provides details of the areas nominated by the state and Northern Territory jurisdictions as Restricted C operational areas as they apply to Exemption 40.
Exemption 40 provides an exemption from the requirement to have a Certificate of Survey for non-passenger or fishing vessels that:
- are less than 12 metres long;
- operate only in the C restricted operation areas nominated (see note below);
- any operational area D (partially smooth water operations); or,
- any operational area E (smooth water operations).
The exemption is subject to the vessel meeting specified operational, design and construction requirements, which are specified as conditions of the exemption. Restricted C vessels require an inspection by an attested person and are required to be re-inspected every five years to ensure continuing compliance with Exemption 40.
Note: The areas nominated by the states and Northern Territory as Restricted C operational areas are summarised at in the tables found at: AMSA Website
New AMSA Accredited Vessel Surveyors
AMSA introduced the Surveyor Accreditation Scheme (the scheme) on 2 January 2015.
This system allows both private and government surveyors.
If your vessel requires survey to make sure it meets safety requirements, it is up to you to select an AMSA-accredited surveyor (surveyors accredited under the Surveyor Accreditation Scheme). Go to: AMSA Website
You can select any accredited surveyor in the scheme within the limit of the categories that the surveyor is accredited for, and any limitations that may be applied to their accreditation.
For example of a surveyor’s limitation may be a particular construction material (ie they can survey steel and aluminum vessels, but not timber or reinforced plastic vessels).
As at 22 April 2016, there were accredited surveyors in WA.
You can find a list of accredited surveyors on the AMSA website, along with each surveyor’s contact details, the categories that they are accredited for, and the area in which they operate. Go to New AMSA Accredited Vessel Surveyors: AMSA Website
AMSA’s My Boat application
AMSA has released ‘My Boat’ – an online application developed to help industry understand and comply with vessel survey requirements. It’s free.
Based on the National Standards for Commercial Vessels, Marine Orders and National Law exemptions, you only need to put in the details of your vessel and My Boat will produce results specific to you.
AMSA encourages vessel owners and operators sign up as a member and use the available tools at CLICK HERE
________________________________________________________________________________________Standing Exemptions: Changes and Extensions
AMSA has recently made changes to a number of standing exemptions that may apply to commercial fishing vessels. Standing exemptions are an important part of AMSA’s initiative to ensure its regulations are relevant, flexible and risk-based.
AMSA has recently made changes to a number of standing exemptions forms, guidance notices and advisories that may apply to commercial fishing vessels. Standing exemptions are an important part of AMSA’s initiative to ensure its regulations are relevant, flexible and risk-based. CLICK HERE
AMSA Guidance materials
AMSA provides a range of guidance notes, advisory sheets, fact sheets and the myriad forms required to apply for various activities or services. Click Here
MARINE SAFETY REGULATIONS
1. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
AMSA is responsible the safety of vessels and the seafarers operating in the domestic commercial industry. State and Territory marine safety agencies act as delegates of AMSA and are responsible for the face-to-face operations of the National System. Click here for more information.
What are the laws governing all Australia commercial fishing vessels? Click here.
AMSA Connect 1800 627 484 – Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (across Australia)
AMSA website amsa.gov.au/transition-national-system-domestic-commercial-vessel
Email [email protected]
Follow us Facebook.com/AustralianMaritimeSafetyAuthority
Subscribe for updates Subscribe to our mailing list
2. Australian Marine Safety Authority – Communication with Industry
AMSA have several information publications available for industry. For more information.
3. Guidance Notices for Owners and Skippers
AMSA has developed a range of guidance notices for owners and skippers to better understand how to implement the new national maritime safety regulations.
These can be found here
4. Useful Links on AMSA Website
Domestic Commercial Vessel Section – http://www.amsa.gov.au/domestic
Consultation with Industry – http://www.amsa.gov.au/community/consultation
AMSA Twitter – @AMSA_News
AMSA Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/AustralianMaritimeSafetyAuthority
5. Useful Contacts at AMSA
AMSA WA Liaison Officer – Steve Whitesmith
Email: [email protected] Mob: 0408 976 282
AMSA Contact Centre – (02) 6279 5000 (Canberra)
Feedback to AMSA on National System – Email
WORKPLACE SAFETY REGULATIONS
1. Worksafe WA manages Workplace Safety in WA
WorkSafe is a division of the Department of Commerce and its role is regulation of workplace safety and health in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act). The principal objective of OSH laws is to promote and secure the safety and health of people in the workplace. Click here for details.
2. WA Workplace Legislation and Regulations
Workplace safety in WA is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984. Click here.
Please note: A new Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill passed the WA Legislative Assembly on November 3, 2020 and will become law once the supporting regulations are finalised in 2021.
3. Man Overboard Code of Practice
The code is a guideline outlining ways in which to address the risks associated with accidental falls from commercial fishing vessels, and covers both the prevention of falls and the emergency responses if a man overboard incident occurs. Details can be found here.
4. Safe Work Australia
The Commonwealth and all State governments have agreed to enter a collaborative and consultative process for developing greater consistency in work health and safety regulations (known as ‘harmonization’). Details here.
SafeWork Australia was established to lead the development of this national policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.
SafeWork Australia has primary responsibility to lead the development of policy and ‘model laws’ to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.
As a national policy body Safe Work Australia does not regulate work health and safety laws. Individual State governments retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.