Coastal trading – Foreign ships working domestically in Australia

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) authorises licenses for coastal trading in Australian waters. These licenses allow foreign-flagged ships to operate domestic shipping services such as freight or passenger services, in Australian waters under specific conditions and for a fixed time only. 

A temporary licence provides access to engage in coastal trading in Australia for a 12-month period and is limited to the voyages authorised under the licence. Temporary licenses are issued to applicants, typically shipping companies, not to specific ships which they choose to engage for the purpose of coastal trading. 

Hourly rates for foreign seafarers working on ships engaged in coastal trading in Australia are regulated by the Fair Work Ombudsman under the Fair Work Act 2009. 

AMSA is not involved in the issuing of temporary licenses for coastal trading. AMSA inspects ships which are engaged in coastal trading much like it does with any ship operating in Australian waters, regardless of whether the ship is on a domestic or international service route.