Jurisdiction - Australia
Australia – Consultation Draft Of North East Shipping Management Plan Released.


10 September, 2013


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – Shipping, Maritime & Aviation




  • AMSA has released a consultation draft of the North East Shipping Management Plan ahead of projected increases in shipping traffic in the environmentally protected regions of the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea.


  • The North East Shipping Management Plan focuses on safe ships, safe navigation and protecting the environment to reduce the risk of incidents to seafarers and the environment.




  • Industry participants operating in this area should review the draft plan and provide any comments as may be needed to AMSA by Friday 4 October 2013.


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) released a consultation draft of the North East Shipping Management Plan (NESMP) on 2 August 2013. The draft contains two parts, including a complete report and a summary work plan (Work Plan), designed to ensure the continued protection of the environment in the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea regions ahead of projected increases in shipping traffic in these environmentally sensitive areas. A copy of the NESMP on the AMSA website can be found here.


North East Shipping Management Plan (NESMP)


The draft NESMP was developed in cooperation with Maritime Safety Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and certain other government departments. The draft is said to incorporate views of major industry and environmental stakeholders consulted during the development phase of the plan.


The purpose of the NESMP is to prevent any environmental impacts of shipping, ahead of projected increases in the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea traffic in the future. The plan seeks to address the increased risk which flows from continued growth in shipping activity in sensitive regions, including the potential for ship-sourced pollution and damage. The NESMP focuses on three key areas:


  • safe ships;
  • safe navigation; and
  • protection of the environment.


Under the NESMP, the North East Shipping Management Group (NESMG) has been formed to oversee and implement an integrated approach tonshipping management in the north east region.


Measures under the NESMP Work Plan


The Work Plan, contained at the end of the NESMP, provides for measures to be taken to achieve these overall objectives, including:


  • areas for consideration of pilotage requirements in relation to updated traffic levels;
  • port State control inspections;
  • fatigue, passage planning and navigational equipment risks;
  • use of emerging ship tracking technology to improve movement and breakdown awareness;
  • seeking upgraded environmental categorisation of the Coral Sea by the International Maritime Organisation;
  • traffic organisation services to minimise collision risks in Hydrographers Passage; and
  • industry consultation for early introduction of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems and bunker oil tanks in protective locations.


The Work Plan categorises goals into separate time frames, including short (within two years), medium (two to five years) and long term (five years and beyond). The provisions of the Work Plan are not fixed, and will be regularly subject to review by both the NESMG and stakeholder consultation.


Next steps


The NESMP is available for public comment until Friday, 4 October 2013. Industry participants should review the NESMP, particularly the Work Plan, and make submissions to AMSA on any relevant issues before 4 October 2013. AMSA will collate public comments on the plan, which is due to be finalised in October 2013.


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 For further information, please contact:


Shane Bosma, Ashurst
[email protected]


Paul Newman, Partner, Ashurst
[email protected]



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