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AMSA Plans To Remove Oral Examinations

Hidden in the latest Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) consultation on page 32 of the Domestic Commercial Vessel Levy consultation booklet is the AMSA plan to end the independent oral examination by the state for the following qualifications:

  • Coxswain Level 1 NC
  • Coxswain Level 2 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Level 3 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Level 2 NC
  • Master under 24 meters NC Master (inland waters).

To obtain any of these certificates you will complete the relevant training course through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

The final practical assessment, where required, will be carried out by AMSA-approved assessors at the RTO. This may devalue the qualification, as there will be no independent assessment for the student. This may also see the reduction in the course length and content. This also comes at a time when an auditor-general report has revealed 35 per cent of the 323 registered training organisations examined were either ‘significantly’ or ‘critically’ not compliant with national standards.

This move will certainly lower the standard and compromise safety in seafarer competency. This comes at a time when many vessels will no longer be surveyed or surveyed rarely. The safety standard continues to be lowered under the National System. The National System was promoted to have no reduction in safety, no increase in cost and no increase in red tape. Sadly, none of these have been achieved. AMSA Vessel Levy The authority has proposed two different models for the introduction of a levy, a flat fee per metre, based on the length of a vessel, or a fee based on vessel class and size, combining a fixed charge with a fee per metre.

Commercial vessel operators are concerned about the potential impact of increased fees on their businesses and wanted to see industry safety maintained with the introduction of the new system. AMSA taking control in all states and the Northern Territory from July next year, all subsidies will go and be replaced by a user-pays levy covering 100% of AMSA’s costs. Vessels in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory face steeper increases, as fees have been subsidised in the past. The fees and levy will go towards services such as managing and issuing certificates of survey, operation and competency as well as compliance and enforcement, corporate support, and customer service.

The levy does not include the vessel survey, this will have to be completed by an AMSA accredited private surveyor. Consultation on the proposed levies and fees will be open until October 10 and submissions can be made online via the consultation page of the authority’s website.

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