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NSW campaign targets commercial vessel compliance

by NSW Roads and Maritime Services on 19 Mar 2012
Kill switch and lanyard vital for commercial safety .. ©
Just weeks after a fatal accident involving a commercial fisherman at Port Stephens, a NSW-wide campaign targeting safety on commercial fishing vessels is being launched.

Roads and Maritime Services will tomorrow kick off a week-long campaign targeting commercial vessel compliance, with random searches of commercial vessels to ensure they are meeting proper safety regulations.

Maritime Director Tony Middleton said the masters of more than 2,300 commercial vessels which operate in NSW would be randomly approached by Maritime Boating Safety Officers as part of the education and compliance operation.

'Commercial vessel operators must remain vigilant to potential hazards at all times and avoid complacency. All their crew must also hold valid qualifications,' Mr Middleton said.

The purpose of the campaign is four-fold:
• To check commercial vessel compliance with emphasis on crewing and safety requirements under the Marine Safety (Commercial Vessels) Regulations 2010;
• To educate commercial vessel operators about their safety management system (SMS) obligations;
• To educate commercial vessel operators about the introduction of the national system for commercial vessels in 2013;
• To educate oyster punt operators on the requirement to carry the necessary safety equipment and, where appropriate, to wear a kill-switch lanyard.

Mr Middleton said a recent commercial vessel fatality, on 20 February this year, involved the master of a commercial oyster punt operating alone who died after falling overboard at the entrance to the Myall River.
'This incident highlights the dangers of not wearing a kill-switch lanyard and lifejacket,' he said.

'Developing an effective SMS as well as testing emergency response capabilities through regular safety drills is necessary for the safety of all on board.'

Mr Middleton said checks would be carried out to ensure crew carried appropriate qualifications and passenger carrying capacities were being adhered to.

The correct number and type of lifejackets for those on board would also be noted. Sea-going vessels would be checked for their safety equipment such as rafts and 406 MHz emergency position beacon or EPIRB.

RMS Hunter Regional Manager Sonia McKay says there will be a particular focus on the dangers of not wearing a kill-switch lanyard.

'It's actually not compulsory to wear it but it's something we do actually recommend,' she said. 'It's good practice for operators who are in a boat on their own and what that means is they've got something around their wrist and so that if they happen to fall overboard then it kills the actual engine.'

More at www.rms.nsw.gov.au
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