THE AUSTRALIAN Maritime Safety Authority has signed an agreement with the Navy that provides the process to move vessels from Australia’s flag administration to operate under a Defence flag administration.

AMSA and Royal Australian Navy said the memorandum of understanding has strengthened the relationship between military and civilian maritime jurisdictions.

They said it would also support safety at sea and the delivery of naval capability.

AMSA CEO Mick Kinley and RAN chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond signed the MoU in Canberra on Thursday (16 February).

Mr Kinley said the MoU will would enable AMSA to strengthen its maritime responses and operations across a range of situations,

“The MoU helps the civilian and military regulators to have a mutual understanding of the safety, seaworthiness and environmental compliance of ships with changing jurisdictions to ensure none of these issues are compromised,” he said.

“Vessels operating under Defence’s flag administration have obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and can gain access to the necessary ports, oceans and waterways to deliver missions for the Australian government.

“This MoU will enable a quick extension of this regime to civilian maritime vessels when the need arises.”

Vice Admiral Hammond said the MoU would provide greater agility for Defence and partner agencies to respond to needs and contingencies in the maritime environment.

“Australia is a three-ocean island trading nation,” he said.

“Our seaborne supply chains and undersea infrastructure are the lifeblood of our economy – this underpins our way of life as a maritime nation.

“This MoU is important, as it allows Australia to better harness its resources in advancing the national interest in our maritime region.

“The agreement will support both Defence and AMSA to uphold Australia’s international obligations for vessel flag administration, while enhancing Defence’s maritime response options in times of national necessity or crisis.”

AMSA and RAN highlighted Pacific support vessel ADV Reliant as an example of what they expect the MoU to enable.

They said ADV Reliant was procured from the commercial market via a rapid acquisition process.

The ship was quickly transferred from civilian to Defence flag administration, enabling its “timely and flexible” employment in support of Australia’s Pacific partners.