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Marine Orders Part 54

Issue number: MI-2010-011-SI-01
Who it affects: All ship operators, masters, pilots and pilotage providers
Issue owner: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Operation affected: Marine: Shipboard operations
Background: Investigation Report 282-MI-2010-011
Date: 24 October 2012

Safety issue description

The safety framework prescribed by successive issues of Marine Orders Part 54 (MO 54) has not assigned the responsibility for the overall management of the safety risks associated with coastal pilotage operations to pilotage providers or any other organisation.

This has allowed the following issues to exist:

  • the 2001 objective of MO 54 to ensure that all pilotage operations are covered by an approved safety management system has not been achieved
  • the absence of uniform, adequately risk-analysed procedures for the pilotage task and standardised passage plans to allow ship crews to pre-plan passages
  • pilotage provider safety management systems that only address the risks primarily associated with assigning pilots to ships and pilot transfer operations
  • the devolution of the responsibility to manage the most safety critical aspects of coastal pilotage to the individual pilots without direct regulatory oversight
  • the proliferation of individualised systems of piloting with wide variations that make assessment and monitoring of pilotage standards difficult and increase the potential for sub-optimal pilotage procedures, practices and passage plans
  • the absence of an appropriate industry safety culture, promoted and fostered by an accountable organisation(s), whose first priority and business imperative is to provide the safest possible coastal pilotage service.

Response from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) advised the ATSB that:

AMSA acknowledges the issues and notes that there are a number of areas that are currently in progress:

  • a standardised industry passage plan (IPP) was published on 1 July 2011 to provide all ships a uniform standard to plan for a coastal pilotage in advance
  • the publication of MO 54 issue 5 (implemented 1 July 2011) strives to provide a stronger link between provider and pilotage activities.

The IPP is accessible on AMSA’s website via www.amsa.gov.au/pilotage and hard copies of the preamble and chartlets are available for those who cannot access the documents electronically. It is anticipated that the IPP will continue to develop as experience is gained. As identified in the 2008 study ‘Delivery of Coastal Pilotage Services in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait’, AMSA will commence a review of the revised MO 54 (issue 5) 12 months after implementation (on 1 July 2012).

In accordance with issue 5 of MO 54, all pilots must prepare detailed passage plans that use the IPP model and carry hard and electronic copies of the plan.

In addition, AMSA advised that it recognises the need for pilotage procedures to be an integral part of the safety management systems for organisations providing pilotage services. Consequently, after its audits of the pilotage providers in January 2012, each provider undertook the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for conducting the pilotage task under a risk management framework. It is intended that these SOPs will be implemented through the providers’ safety management systems, which will be subject to AMSA’s annual verification and compliance audits.

Importantly, AMSA advised that the review of MO 54 (from July 2012) will seek to more clearly assign and articulate the responsibility of the pilotage providers for the overall management of safety risks in pilotage operations, including responsibility for the SOPs to be followed by the pilots operating under their safety management systems.

On 13 September 2012, the Navigation Act 2012 (completely rewritten legislation) received the Royal Assent. This Act provides the following, significantly revised definition for a pilotage provider:

Pilotage provider includes a person who is responsible for the following:

(a) training pilots
(b) the safe transfer and operation of pilots
(c) assigning or allocating a pilot to the transit of a vessel through particular waters
(d) undertaking such other activities in relation to pilotage as are prescribed by the regulations; irrespective of the legal relationship, contractual or otherwise, between that person and the pilot concerned.

 

ATSB comment

The ATSB acknowledges the safety action taken and proposed by AMSA to address the safety issue, in particular the introduction of standard passage plans and the requirement for pilotage providers to develop standard operating procedures for the pilotage task. However, the implementation of a safety management system(s) can only be fully effective if it is supported by the development of an appropriate organisational and industry safety culture promoted and fostered by an accountable organisation(s). In this respect, the much broader revised definition for a pilotage provider in the Navigation Act 2012 is consistent with an organisation that can be assigned responsibility for the overall safety management of pilotage under MO 54.

Recommendation

Action organisation: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Action number: MI-2010-011-SR-048
Date: 24 October 2012
Action status: Closed

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority takes further safety action to address the safety issue by ensuring that the coastal pilotage regulations specifically assign the responsibility for the overall management of the safety risks associated with coastal pilotage operations to the pilotage providers or another organisation. The role, functions, operational and industry responsibilities of any organisation providing a coastal pilotage service should be clearly defined by the provisions of the regulations with a primary focus on the safety of the pilotage service provided.

Correspondence

Date received: 21 January 2013
Response from: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Response text:

AMSA considers that the requirement to manage the risks associated with the act of conducting a pilotage is already embodied in the provisions of Marine Order Part 54 under the mandatory requirements and requirements for pilots with respect to the safety management system.

Notwithstanding this, AMSA recognises that opportunities for improvement exist. AMSA has already implemented safety action to improve the safety issue through the implementation of standard passage plans and the requirement for pilotage providers to develop standard operating procedures for the pilotage task. The presence of such uniform procedures for the pilotage task and standardised passage plans enable ship crews to pre-plan passages. Additionally, pilots are required to carry these plans with them in either electronic or hard copies.

AMSA also acknowledges that the current review of Marine Orders Part 54 provides a timely opportunity to revise and clarify the responsibilities of pilot providers to specifically address the conduct of the act of pilotage. The review is being carried out with the intention of making a revised Marine Order under the Navigation Act 2012 which re-defines “pilotage provider” as an entity with clear responsibilities for pilotage operations, a big improvement in the current Act definition. In addition, there is an opportunity to more clearly identify the requirement for appropriate standard operating procedures in the pilot provider’s safety management systems. The revised Marine Order 54 is expected to be implemented by July 2013.

Concurrent with the review of Marine Order Part 54 AMSA is reviewing the Industry Passage Plan as standard procedure, noting the plan has been in place now for 18 months. The 2013 edition of the consolidated coastal passage plan is expected to be published by AMSA in early 2013.

As part of the oversight process, AMSA will be conducting its next annual audits of the pilot providers in late January 2013. In the past year, in response to Marine Order Part 54 issue 5, the pilot providers have been introducing standardised systems of piloting and the audits will provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of this approach.

In addition to these annual audits AMSA continues to work with its pilot stakeholders through the Combined Pilotage Group forum to ensure understanding and management of this concept and to inculcate an appropriate safety culture in the pilot providers and pilots. The group, comprised of AMSA representatives, pilot providers and pilots, meets three times each calendar year, with an opportunity to meet more frequently if required.

ATSB response:

The proposed revision of Marine Orders Part 54 (MO 54) and other noted safety actions should adequately address the safety issue.

Date received: 05 September 2013
Response from: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Response text:

The internal review of MO 54 issue 5 has been completed. Final review of changes and change table are now being implemented into a draft revised version of MO 54 for external consultation.

In discussing the consultation process with the Pilotage Providers it is apparent that they will request an extended review time frame – beyond the standard 4 week consultation for Marine Orders as indicated on the AMSA website http://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and- publications/Fact-Sheets/Fact_Sheet- Marine_Order.pdf .

In addition, the review of Nationals Standards for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) and the link with Pilot Launch requirements is expected to complete by the end of 2013, with implementation in early 2014.

With both these points in mind, it is anticipated that the next version of MO 54 will go into force in Q1 2014.

ATSB response:

The proposed revision of Marine Orders Part 54 (MO 54) and other noted safety actions should adequately address the safety issue.

Date received: 06 May 2014
Response from: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Response text:
A draft amended MO 54 was released for extended public consultation in December 2013 (closing 31 January 2014). In December 2013, AMSA met with each Pilotage Provider to discuss the draft Order in detail and provide an opportunity for direct input.
 
110 comments were included on the draft Order following consultation. Final drafting of the revised Order is nearing completion. Following the approval process, the revised Order is scheduled to commence 1 July 2014.
In response to this ATSB recommendation, the (draft) Order requires pilotage providers to ensure their safety management systems describe how risks associated with all operations of pilotage crew are identified and minimised, to the satisfaction of AMSA.
 
Specifically, the approval draft MO 54 states: 8(b) a duty of a licensed pilotage provider is to provide pilots and pilot transfers to a vessel and maintain a safety management system to ensure the safe navigation of the vessel in a compulsory pilotage area.
Date received: 06 August 2014
Response from: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Response text:
A draft amended MO 54 was released for extended public consultation in December 2013 (closing 31 January 2014).
In December 2013, AMSA met with each Pilotage Provider to discuss the draft Order in detail and provide an opportunity for direct input.
 
110 comments were included on the draft Order following consultation. The revised Order commenced 1 July 2014.
In response to this ATSB recommendation, the Order now requires pilotage providers to ensure their safety management systems describe how risks associated with all operations of pilotage crew are identified and minimised, to the satisfaction of AMSA (per s43(1)(c)).
 
Additionally, the MO 54 (2014) states: 8(b) a duty of a licensed pilotage provider is to provide pilots and pilot transfers to a vessel and maintain a safety management system to ensure the safe navigation of the vessel in a compulsory pilotage area.
 
As a result of these amendments to MO54, AMSA considers this issue to have been addressed.
ATSB response:
As of 1 July 2014, Marine Orders Part 54 (MO 54) specifically assigned the responsibility for the overall management of the safety risks associated with coastal pilotage operations to pilotage providers. Provider safety management systems progressively implemented to comply with this revised MO 54 are subject to AMSA compliance audits. The safety action that has progressively been taken has adequately addressed the safety issue.
   
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Status justification:

The safety action that has progressively been taken by AMSA has adequately addressed the safety issue. In particular, on 1 July 2014, Marine Orders Part 54 (MO 54) specifically assigned the responsibility for the overall management of the safety risks associated with coastal pilotage operations to pilotage providers.
 

 
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Last update 22 April 2016