Specifically, AMSA addresses that the revised plan focuses on implementing measures to enhance ship and navigation safety, reduce the impacts of shipping on marine mammals, address bio-security risks, expand special protection measures for the most sensitive sea areas and establishing a pollution response fund.

The Authority has made important steps up to now, including the expansion of the GBR and Torres Strait (TS) Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to include the Coral Sea, as the PSSA enables special protection measures such as areas to be avoided and new ship routeing systems to be implemented.

Local communities collaborate with governments to:

  1. enhance boating safety;
  2. reduce the number of search and rescue incidents;
  3. increase the survivability of persons lost at sea;
  4. support the development of the near coastal maritime industry in the region.

Also, a range of measures have been introduced to improve ballast water management. The Australian Government has ratified and implemented the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), introduced requirements for ballast water management, and applied a ballast water exchange exclusion area within 12 NM of the outer boundary of the GBR Marine Park.

Safe shipping movements in the GBR and Torres Strait region / Credit: AMSA

As presented in the graph above, these measures that the Authority has implemented, have been extremely effective, with only two minor interactions between a ship and a fishing vessel recorded in the last seven years; one in 2014 and the other in 2017. A safe ship movement is the passage of a ship through the VTS area which did not result in a navigation related incident or accident.

AMSA CEO, Mick Kinley commented

When international ships visit this unique region of the world, we expect them to be of the highest standards. The NESMP outlines the steps we are taking to address the potential risks that shipping brings to this area of Australia.

In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack added that the plan will ensure vital international trade in North East Australia continues in the most environmentally sustainable manner.

Concluding, the next review of the plan is scheduled for 2023.  

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