THE Australian Maritime Safety Authority has discontinued a tender process for the contract to maintain aids to navigation around Australia for the next 10 years.

An AMSA spokesperson told DCN its “approach to market has not identified a suitable contractor”.

“AMSA will now pursue an alternative strategy to maintain the national network of AtoNs [aids to navigation] beyond the current maintenance contract, which expires at the end of June 2024,” the spokesperson said.

Maritime services company AMS Group has held the contract for the AtoN maintenance for more than two decades.

AMS Group CEO Glen Marshall told DCN the company was “disappointed by the result of the tender process – after 22 years we’ve been deemed unsuitable. We are awaiting a formal debrief next week”.

The AtoN network includes about 485 aids to navigation at 380 sites around Australia. These include lighthouses, beacons, buoys, radar beacons, AIS stations, broadcasting tide gauges, wave rider buoys, current meters and weather stations.

AMS Group also holds the current contract to for AMSA’s emergency towage capability (ETC). The ETC contractor is responsible for all aspects of the vessel’s operation, and the vessel also supports AtoN maintenance.

The ETC contract is also out for tender at present, and the AMSA spokesperson told DCN it is “important to note that the tender process for Level 1 Emergency Towage Capability (ETC) will continue”.

In its publicly available description of the tender, AMSA said it would consider two different contractors for the ETC and AtoN services.

“In practice there will need to be a close working relationship, as the ETC is made available as the work platform for AtoN maintenance within its usual area of operation,” AMSA said.

The spokesperson told DCN AMSA expects to release further information and related requests for tender but will not commit to a timeframe at this point.

“Until then, only email enquiries about the terminated tender received at: will be accepted. Enquiries will receive a response acknowledging receipt only, no additional information will be provided at this time,” the spokesperson said.

“AMSA wishes to thank industry for their patience on this issue.”