Australian industry, state and federal governments have endorsed a new National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority AMSA, the new plan sets out the cooperative arrangements between governments and industry to respond to maritime pollution and shipping casualty incidents. The plan, managed by AMSA, was reviewed with extensive input from key stakeholders, from industry and government, drawing on their experience with maritime emergencies both domestically and internationally since the last plan was put in place in 2001.
AMSA Chief Executive Graham Peachey said the new plan combines pollution response and the management of maritime casualties for the first time in its 40 year existence.
“Following extensive collaboration with industry, state and territory governments, and emergency services, the new plan is designed to integrate more effectively within Australia’s disaster management arrangements,” Peachey said.
A risk assessment, which was the cornerstone of the review, resulted in a boost to National Plan response equipment stockpiles across Australia.
“These stockpiles are strategically located in nine ports around the coastline and can be drawn on in the event of an oil spill or a stricken vessel causing pollution in our marine environment,” Peachey said.
“AMSA invests in a significant training program so people around Australia have the skills to respond to any potential marine pollution.”
The risk assessment also resulted in the establishment of emergency towage capabilities in two new regions, under contract arrangements, Peachey said.
“These vessels can be called on to respond to marine pollution or to tow ships causing marine pollution.”
“AMSA’s emergency towage vessel in Cairns also patrols and responds to any marine pollution event in the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea under the National Plan.”
The National Plan has been endorsed by Federal and State and Territory governments and supersedes the 2001 National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Hazardous and Noxious Substances.