On 25 March 2019 the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS) made a submission to the Senate Committee inquiry into the performance of AMSA Standing Order 25 (2) (a) following the death of Damien Mills who disappeared whilst on a charter vessel off Fremantle in 2014. IIMS represents over 1,000 members in over 100 countries around the world including experienced maritime safety professionals in Australia.
IIMS comments on AMSA being the single national regulator for domestic commercial vessels and the potential benefits of the 2018 reform including the economic opportunities that it represents.
“Sadly, it is becoming all too clear that this reform process is faltering and that promises made before and during the transition as to the probable benefits are not likely to be realised unless significant cultural and leadership change occurs in the organisation that is charged with delivering the reformed AMSA, and a new direction forged”.
IIMS flagged the following areas of concern:
- Increased reporting and paperwork requirements to AMSA for vessel owners and marine surveyors;
- Reduced frequency of formal surveys and inspections of vessels by AMSA;
- Lack of investigation of serious accident and incidents by AMSA; and
- Poor communication and lack of genuine consultation with industry.
The report is concerning given the purpose of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act (National Law Act) was introduced to reduce red tape for domestic vessel operators. The submission follows the release of poll results of the IIMS’ Australian members which found that over half of the respondents believe the new system will result in vessels being less safe than under the previous regulatory regime.