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As of 20 May 2004, seafarers will be able to make their safety concerns known under a new AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT safety initiative.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is introducing a Confidential Marine Reporting Scheme (CMRS) to improve safety in Australian waters by preventing or reducing the risks of marine accidents.

The marine industry, which was widely consulted on the scheme, has welcomed its introduction.

Seafarers and others connected with the marine industry will now be able to report, confidentially, any unsafe conditions, practices or procedures on ships. The scheme is also intended for use, for instance, by a passenger on a ship or a person ashore who observes and wishes to report a marine safety issue.

Under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003, the ATSB investigates and reports on marine accidents. Now, under the Navigation (Confidential Marine Reporting Scheme) Regulations 2004, the ATSB will accept and act, where appropriate, on confidential marine reports.

All reports will be processed to ensure that the identities of reporters are kept confidential.

The scheme encourages the reporting of safety issues by ship's crews and people concerned for maritime safety. However, it may not be used by masters and others who have an obligation, under other legislation, to report accidents where they were involved. Neither is the scheme intended for reporting industrial relations issues or unlawful interference with a ship.

Reports will be accepted by phone, email, fax or on-line or by using the ATSB's confidential marine reporting form. Any reference to, or any information that might identify, a reporter will be removed to 'de-identify' each report. Reports will then be assessed by experienced mariners who will determine what action is required. The de-identified information will be entered into a secure database to enable the reports to be analysed for safety information or trends.

The information from confidential reports may be forwarded by the ATSB to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The information may also be used to issue information briefs or alert bulletins to the maritime community. The ATSB will publish reviews of information from confidential reports and will assess the effectiveness of the scheme with a committee established for that purpose.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 01 April 2011