THE AUSTRALIAN Maritime Safety Authority has launched its compliance strategy for the next four years.

The AMSA Compliance Strategy 2023-27 is the latest iteration of the strategy, outlining how AMSA plans to ensure the maritime industry meets legislated safety standards.

AMSA said its approach to compliance over the next four years will be underpinned by transparency and collaboration with industry, and by minimising regulatory impacts on stakeholders.

The strategy also focuses on maximising safety and environmental outcomes, and a “data-driven, risk-based and proportionate approach to compliance”.

AMSA executive director of operations Michael Drake said the last few years have been challenging for many commercial vessel owners and operators, and also for merchant shipping.

“As a modern regulator, we have to get the balance right between ensuring compliance and not adding regulatory burden to maritime industries which are only just getting back on their feet after being knocked down during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Drake said.

He said for AMSA, this involves being strategic with where and how it directs its efforts.

“For example, we use incident and inspection data to identify emerging risks to safety, and then focus our efforts on these risk areas which we communicate to industry through our annual national compliance plans.

“We also take a proportionate approach to enforcing compliance which means we adjust the tilt of our compliance activity based on the ability and willingness of an operator to comply with their legal obligations.

“Work with us to make your vessel operations safer, and we’ll work with you to ensure you can keep your business running.

“Work against us, disregard and resist your legal obligations, and be prepared to be prohibited from operating or detained until you can prove that your vessel operation isn’t going to endanger lives or be a risk to our precious marine and coastal environments.”

Mr Drake said education is an important element of the regulator’s compliance approach. He said safe vessel operations are successful operations.

“It’s in everyone’s interest, not just us as a safety regulator, that a vessel operation meets legislated safety standards.

“That’s why we place such a strong emphasis and dedicate significant resources every year to educating industry and helping operators bring themselves into voluntary compliance.”

AMSA plans to deliver the strategy through services, programs and projects as part of its annual planning cycle.