Jump to Content

Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service

Issue number: MI-2010-011-SI-06
Who it affects: All ship operators, masters, pilots and pilotage providers
Issue owner: Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Maritime Safety Queensland
Operation affected: Marine: Shore-based operations
Background: Investigation Report 282-MI-2010-011
Date: 24 October 2012

Safety issue description

The potential for the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS) to support coastal pilotage and enhance safety is under-utilised. 

The service can better support pilotage by: 

  • making all pilots aware of the value of REEFVTS as an additional bridge resource and its capability, including any limitations, to monitor the progress of ships and issue warnings when a hazardous situation is detected;
  • ensuring REEFVTS’s electronic systems are optimally set up to ensure that a hazardous situation in any area, including areas where pilots usually leave the bridge to rest, is detected in adequate time to issue a useful warning to the ship(s) involved; and
  • equipping vessel traffic service operators with the training and knowledge to best use its systems to support pilotage.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Action number: MI-2010-011-NSA-059
Date: 24 October 2012
Action status: Closed

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

AMSA and MSQ (Maritime Safety Queensland) jointly work to ensure REEFVTS provides an effective service. The vessel traffic service has adopted an ongoing performance monitoring regime to help ensure continuous improvement in a changing environment.

AMSA recognises there may be additional training opportunities with regards to exchange of information to/from REEFVTS which can be addressed by the pilot training review currently in progress. REEFVTS’s role is actively communicated to pilots through regular coastal pilot meetings. All pilots are provided with the REEFVTS User Guide and are encouraged to visit the service’s operations centre.

In response to the safety issue, AMSA will re-invigorate REEFVTS stakeholder interaction. The goal will be to provide opportunities for greater information exchange, with a focus on the pilots, pilot providers, regulators and other users as appropriate.

The current status of REEFVTS electronic systems are well developed, with annual reviews carried out. Additional electronic warning opportunities will be investigated, in consultation with industry experts.

AMSA notes that the hiring and training of VTSOs (vessel traffic service operators) is carried out by MSQ, as detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding on the functional delivery of REEFVTS. VTSOs are trained to international best practice (IALA V-103) and are employed by MSQ.

In addition, AMSA advised that REEFVTS’s electronic systems and mechanisms to detect hazardous situations and provide timely warnings to ships to help avoid groundings have been extended to the service’s southern boundary located off Gladstone. 

ATSB response:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action proposed by AMSA should adequately address the safety issue. 

Correspondence

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

AMSA and Maritime Safety Queensland work together to ensure REEFVTS provides an effective service. The vessel traffic service has adopted an ongoing performance monitoring regime to help ensure continuous improvement in a changing environment.

These efforts will continue, with additional training opportunities with regards to exchange of information to and from REEFVTS to be addressed as part of the pilot training review currently in progress. REEFVTS’s role is actively communicated to pilots through regular coastal pilot meetings.

ATSB response:

The safety action taken with ongoing performance monitoring measures adequately address the safety issue.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ)
Action number: MI-2010-011-NSA-060
Date: 24 October 2012
Action status: Closed

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) advised the ATSB that it agrees that REEFVTS has the potential to continue to enhance standards in the area. To ensure the best safety outcomes are achieved, MSQ stated that it will continue to work with AMSA. It noted that this will involve greater interaction with the pilotage sector both for induction and training as well as on an operational basis.

ATSB response:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action proposed by MSQ should adequately address the safety issue.

   
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Status justification:

The safety action to address this safety issue was adequate and should continue to be so under the ongoing performance monitoring and other measures in place.

 
Share this page Comment
Last update 22 April 2016