Marine safety inspectors have been conducting safety and compliance checks on passenger ferries that operate on the Yarra River, in response to a recent spate of incidents reported to Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV), a branch of Transport Safety Victoria.
Inspections have raised some significant safety concerns including:
• Unsafe operational practices
• Poor vessel maintenance
• Lack of incident reporting, and
• Inadequate crewing.
“MSV is working to ensure all ferry operators meet their safety obligations,” said the regulator’s Deputy Director Rachel Gualano.
“This will mean continuing inspections of the ferries and their operations, audits of their safety management systems to ensure compliance with national law, and encouraging the development of a safety culture that puts the safety of passengers and crew first.”
Where safety risks or areas of non-compliance are observed, marine safety inspectors will be exercising their regulatory powers to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and vessel operations. This may include issuing notices to improve or prohibit unsafe vessels.
Breaches of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 may also be referred to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for further investigation. Consequences for non-compliance with safety laws can include warnings and fines, or suspending or revoking an operator’s ability to operate.
Details of certificates of operation and safety management systems can be found at amsa.gov.au/domestic.