A COMPLETED review of the North-East Shipping Management Plan, covering the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea regions, has been released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Commonwealth and Queensland government agencies developed the NESMP together with industry and key interest groups in 2014 to reduce the effects of large commercial ships in these waters.

AMSA recently concluded a review of NESMP to check progress and strengthen management measures.

The revised plan aims to ensure ships visiting these areas are high standard and operate safely.


AMSA chief executive Mick Kinley said the waters off the north east coast of Australia were some of the most environmentally sensitive sea areas in the world.

“To date, the NESMP has formed the basis of a national strategy to minimise the effects that shipping has on our unique marine environment,” Mr Kinley said.

“So far, we have focussed on implementing measures to enhance ship and navigation safety, reduce the impacts of shipping on marine mammals, address biosecurity risks, expand special protection measures for our most sensitive sea areas and establishing a pollution response fund.”

According to AMSA, the revised plan focuses on enhancing ship and navigation safety, greater incident response capabilities, improvements to traffic management, better quality nautical charts and the implementation of marine biosecurity best practice management. 

“When international ships visit this unique region of the world, we expect them to be of the highest standards,” Mr Kinley said.

“The NESMP outlines the steps we are taking to address the potential risks that shipping brings to this area of Australia” Mr Kinley said.”

The report can be viewed here.

Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack said the plan would ensure vital international trade continued in the most environmentally sustainable manner.

“The Australian government is committed to ensuring these sensitive areas remain the best protected waters in the world,” Mr McCormack said.

“The review found that many of the risks identified in 2014 remain relevant. These risks will continue to be managed through ongoing improvements that will safeguard Australia’s world heritage listed areas.”

The next review of the plan is scheduled for 2023.