The Australian Department of Infrastructure and Development issued a Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Paper, where it suggests a change in current regulation of coastal trading, to ensure safe, secure and efficient coastal shipping as part of Australia’s national transport system.

The proposed amendments to the Coastal Trading Act are the following:
        Remove the five voyage minimum requirement for a TL  
        Streamline the licensing process where no General Licence (GL) vessels are available
        Streamline the TL variation process
        Amend voyage notification requirements
        Amend the tolerance provisions
        Replace the current three-tier regime with two tiers
        Extend the geographical reach of the Coastal Trading Act
        Allow dry-docking
        Minor technical amendments

There are several definitions of the Coastal Trading Act that require clarification to assist with administration. These include:
        clarifying that the ‘person’ referred to in section 43(1) must be a holder of a TL;
        clarifying what constitutes a ‘port in a State or Territory’ in section 6, and
        clarifying that agents can apply for a TL on behalf of owners or masters in section 28(1).

It is proposed to amend the Coastal Trading Act to require TL holders to include a vessel’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) number in voyage reports. This unique reference for vessels will assist in readily identifying vessels.

The paper also proposes potential seafarer training initiative options, that aim at developping and retaining critical maritime skills in Australia, to support a vibrant maritime sector. These options will not require legislative change, but will assist Government in maintaining a skilled maritime workforce. The options are:
        Establish an Industry Maritime Workforce Skills and Training Reference Group
        Implement a government maritime training support scheme
        Develop a public-private partnership arrangement with industry
        Introduce a maritime workforce census

Detailed information may be found at: Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Paper

Source: Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development