Environmental Protection

Australia Unwraps National Plan for Maritime Emergency Response

The plan lays out cooperative arrangements between governments and industry to respond to maritime spills and shipping casualty incidents.

A new National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies has the endorsement of Australian industry and its state and federal governments, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is managing the plan. It lays out cooperative arrangements between governments and industry to respond to maritime pollution and shipping casualty incidents.

This plan is an update on one drawn up in 2001. AMSA Chief Executive Graham Peachey said the new plan combines pollution response and the management of maritime casualties for the first time. "Following extensive collaboration with industry, state and territory governments, and emergency services, the new plan is designed to integrate more effectively within Australia’s disaster management arrangements," he said. "AMSA thanks all involved in the formulation of the new National Plan."

The cornerstone of the update as a risk assessment, which brought about a boost in National Plan response equipment stockpiles across the vast country and also the establishment, under contract, of emergency towing capabilities in two new regions. "These stockpiles are strategically located in nine ports around the coastline and can be drawn on in the event of an oil spill or a stricken vessel causing pollution in our marine environment," Peachey said. "AMSA invests in a significant training program so people around Australia have the skills to respond to any potential marine pollution. These vessels can be called on to respond to marine pollution or to tow ships causing marine pollution. AMSA's emergency towage vessel in Cairns also patrols and responds to any marine pollution event in the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, and Coral Sea under the National Plan."

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