It seems the unique position of superyachts requires new definition in Australia, and new regulations are in the pipeline. Following on from the issues raised at the recent Superyacht and Marine Export Conference, Superyacht Australia met in Canberra with the deputy CEO of Australian Marine Safety Authority, Mick Kinley.
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The Australian government is currently working on a raft of maritime regulatory reforms. These include writing the national law that will establish a single maritime safety regulator for domestic commercial vessels and a rewrite of the Navigation Act 1912. One of the objectives of this process is to clarify jurisdiction over commercial vessels in Australia waters, and the current proposal would see the replacement for the Navigation Act 1912 having jurisdiction over all foreign flag commercial vessels in Australian waters.
While superyachts have been previously treated as 'pleasure craft' under the Navigation Act the new Act will have a wider definition of 'commercial vessel' which will likely capture superyachts. Superyacht Australia do not see this as being a problem provided appropriate standards are applied. AMSA agrees that the UKMCA standards applied to superyachts has become the defacto international standard and would seek to have this accommodated in the new regulatory scheme. AMSA's intention from a safety regulation perspective would be that as commercial foreign flag vessels operating in Australian waters, superyachts would be subject to port State inspections on a risk assessment basis while in our ports. Chairman of Superyacht Australia Barry Jenkins stated 'Superyacht Australia supports foreign flag superyachts being under one jurisdiction
From a coastal trading perspective, superyachts engaging in trade in Australian waters that impacted upon operations of Australian flag vessels may also then be faced with other restrictions. Barry Jenkins said 'Superyacht Australia will be discussing this with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to ensure the views of the organisation are made known in relation to the impending coastal shipping reforms.'
The reforms are intended to be in place by 1 January 2013. Over the coming months consultations will take place on the national law for Australian domestic vessels Superyacht Australia expect that consultations will take place on the revised Navigation Act. Superyacht Australia will make their views known during these processes as clearly superyachts occupy a unique position in the industry. AMSA will be organising consulations for the national law for domestic commercial vessels while the Department of Infrastructure and Transport will be arranging the others.
You can contact Superyacht Australia, by telephone, +61 613 9682 4955, or seek more information on their www.superyachtbase.com!website.