Vessel survey and certification
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Most Australian Border Force cutters, including ABFC Roebuck Bay, were installed with ECDIS operating on non-type-approved naval software. Subsequently, DNV GL, acting on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, incorrectly certified these vessels as using type-approved ECDIS to meet the chart carriage requirements of the regulations. This removed an opportunity to put in place controls to ensure ongoing safety compliance.

Issue number
Transport Function
Marine: Shore-based operations
Issue Owner
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Mode of Transport
Issue Status Justification

Customs vessel management plans now capture the fact that most ABF cutters are installed with ECDIS operating on non-type-approved naval software. In future, this will allow steps to be taken to ensure that the ABF ECDIS equipment maintains safety compliance equivalent to the type-approved commercial systems or, will at least allow for an appreciation of any risks related to delays in maintaining up to date safety compliance.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) notification to other Recognised Organisations will serve to highlight the importance of ensuring that ECDIS equipment is only used as the primary means of navigation when it meets the requirements of the regulations.

Proactive action
Action number
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Action date
Action Status
Action description

Safety action taken: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority advised the ATSB of the following safety action taken to address the vessel survey and certification safety issue:

  • AMSA confirmed that the ABF and DNV GL coordinated and carried out the required hardware and software upgrades to ensure the cutters were updated to the latest applicable standards of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
  • at AMSA’s request, DNV GL commenced an internal review of their processes. The results of the review will be provided to AMSA for consideration when it is completed
  • AMSA received confirmation that the ABF safety management system, under the Customs vessel management plan, captured the safety issue in order to prevent recurrence
  • AMSA notified all Recognised Organisations, reminding them of their responsibility to ensure that the requirement that an ECDIS is only compliant when installed and operated in accordance with the type approval issued, is met.