AMSA has issued Marine Notice in order to provide guidance to shipowners, operators and seafarers to reduce the risk of collision with cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), in accordance with IMO Circular MEPC.1/Circ.674.
Ship collisions with cetaceans is an issue of growing concern internationally and with the increase in the number, size and speed of ships, the threat of such collisions may also increase.
Collisions with cetaceans can increase the risk of death or injury to both people and animals and can damage vessels, including to hulls, propellers, shafts and rudders. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Chapter 5, Division 3, protects whales and other cetaceans in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, which encompasses all Commonwealth waters from the three nautical mile state waters limit, out to the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone.
To minimise the risk of collisions seafarers are urged to:
- maintain a look out for cetaceans, especially during the times and locations mentioned overleaf;
- warn other vessels in the vicinity using all appropriate means of communication, if cetaceans have been sighted;
- consider reducing vessel speed in areas where cetaceans have been sighted; and
- consider modest course alterations away from sightings.
Under the EPBC Act, if a vessel collides with a cetacean in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, the person in charge of the vessel is required by law to notify the Secretary of the Department of the Environment within seven days of becoming aware of the collision. The notification should contain specifics such as the dateof incident, location, outcome of the collision and contact details.
Further details may be found by reading the Marine Notice below
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