The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has released the latest iteration of its Compliance Strategy, outlining the regulator’s approach to ensuring the maritime industry meets legislated safety standards over the next four years.
Transparency and collaboration with industry, minimising regulatory impact on stakeholders while maximising safety and environmental outcomes, underpin AMSA’s approach to compliance activities.
As does a “data-driven, risk-based and proportionate approach to compliance” as the regulator outlines in its Compliance Strategy 2023-27.
AMSA Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake, says it’s been a challenging few years for many commercial vessel owners and operators, and likewise for merchant shipping.
“As a modern regulator, we have to get the balance right between ensuring compliance and not adding regulatory burden to maritime industries which are only just getting back on their feet after being knocked down during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Drake explains.
“For AMSA, that means being strategic with where and how we direct our efforts. For example, we use incident and inspection data to identify emerging risks to safety, and then focus our efforts on these risk areas which we communicate to industry through our annual National Compliance Plans.
“We also take a proportionate approach to enforcing compliance which means we adjust the tilt of our compliance activity based on the ability and willingness of an operator to comply with their legal obligations.
“Work with us to make your vessel operations safer, and we’ll work with you to ensure you can keep your business running.
“Work against us, disregard and resist your legal obligations, and be prepared to be prohibited from operating or detained until you can prove that your vessel operation isn’t going to endanger lives or be a risk to our precious marine and coastal environments.”
Mr Drake says education is an important element of the regulator’s compliance approach.
“Safe vessel operations are successful vessel operations. It’s in everyone’s interest, not just us as a safety regulator, that a vessel operation meets legislated safety standards,” Mr Drake says.
“That’s why we place such a strong emphasis and dedicate significant resources every year to educating industry and helping operators bring themselves into voluntary compliance.”
The AMSA Compliance Strategy 2023-27 can be read in full on the regulator’s website.