The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is calling on ship owners and operators to improve their safety management systems after port State control inspections conducted by AMSA between 1 January and 30 April 2017 identified 142 ships which had failed to follow safe navigation practices on voyages.
These deficiencies included the use of unofficial copies of nautical charts, missing charts for voyages, failure to use charts during voyages, failure to plan or monitor voyages appropriately and electronic navigation systems that were unapproved, missing the correct charts for voyages or that crew were not trained to use.
AMSA detained 15 of these ships.
AMSA’s Manager of Ship Inspection and Registration, Alex Schultz-Altmann, said these failings constituted poor navigational practice.
“Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), ships are required to use official nautical charts as a primary means of navigation for all voyages,” Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
“If a ship has an electronic navigation system on board it must have the correct charts for each voyage and crew on navigation watch need to be trained to use it properly – that’s part of every good safety management system.
” Official nautical charts are those issued by or on the authority of a government or authorised hydrographic office. The Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) issues official nautical charts for navigating Australian waters under the ‘AUS’ series.
The charts in this series are easily identified by their ‘AUS’ chart number and AHO crest above the chart’s title.
A list of authorised chart distribution agents is available at www.hydro.gov.au.
The series is also largely reproduced by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. Australia is a signatory to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding and the Asia Pacific Memorandum of Understanding.
Signatory nations, including Australia, will conduct concentrated inspection campaigns around the use of unofficial nautical charts in the latter half of 2017.
AMSA has issued marine notices reminding industry of the importance of navigating safely. View the marine notices here https://apps.amsa.gov.au/MOReview/MarineNoticeExternal.html