AMSA AND CSIRO JOIN FORCES TO IMPROVE MARITIME INCIDENT RESPONSE
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and CSIRO are joining forces to tackle major
maritime pollution incidents.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding, ASMA will draw on the scientific knowledge and technical
support of CSIRO before, during and after a maritime environmental incident, such as an oil spill, to
help understand the impact of pollution on the surrounding marine environment.
The CSIRO/AMSA Scientific Support Agreement was developed following recommendations of the
recently completed Review of the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other
Noxious and Hazardous Substances and the Montara Commission of Enquiry.
CSIRO’s significant expertise and experience in maritime and marine science will serve AMSA’s need
for immediate advice during an incident response to ensure timely decisions can be made that help
minimise impact, and monitor Australia’s marine environment against oil spills, pollution or damage
from a vessel collision or grounding.
“AMSA’s shipping management is world’s best practice and with the addition of CSIRO’s scientific
knowledge and expertise, we’re helping the long‐term sustainability of the shipping industry,”
AMSA’S General Manager of Marine Environment Toby Stone said.
“Incidents are irregular, but can be disastrous. This partnership between AMSA and CSIRO will mean
better informed responses to help protect the marine environment from the impacts of major
marine pollution incident.”
The types of projects CSIRO may undertake for AMSA include preparedness planning, including
drawing on CSIRO biodiversity and natural resources knowledge; incident support, including
providing direct advice to the incident response team during an incident; long‐term impact
assessments following incidents and research projects which can increase incident response
“In the upcoming decades, Australian territorial waters will experience rapid expansion in oil and gas
development plus a major increase in international shipping. With this increased development and
shipping there are also increased environmental risks,” CSIRO Program Director, Dr Andrew Ross
“Effective management of these incidents relies on information about our marine environment.
CSIRO is able to provide access to national data which will assist AMSA to implement effective
responses and better understand the impacts of major incidents.”
AMSA has commenced the implementation of recommendations identified in the 10‐year review of
the National Plan and National Maritime Emergency Response Arrangements (NMERA), including an
upgrade of the nation’s oil spill response equipment stockpiles which is currently being rolled out
around the country.
CSIRO has a strong record of providing scientific input during maritime incidents and a rich
knowledge base from which to advise on the likely impacts and to design environmental monitoring
Previous incidents include the Montara wellhead spill off Western Australia, and the BP oil spill in
the Gulf of Mexico during which CSIRO was called in to use a prototype hydrocarbon sensor array to
map the location and movement of the oil.