The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have strengthened the relationship between military and civilian maritime jurisdictions to support safety at sea and delivery of naval capability.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AM, RAN and Chief Executive Officer AMSA, Mick Kinley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides the process to move vessels from Australia’s civilian regulation authority (known as Flag administration) to operate under a Defence Flag administration. Hammond said the MOU provided greater agility for Defence and partner agencies to quickly respond to a variety of needs and contingencies in the maritime environment.
“Australia is a three-ocean island trading nation. Our seaborne supply chains and undersea infrastructure are the lifeblood of our economy – this underpins our way of life as a maritime nation. This MOU is important as it allows Australia to better harness its resources in advancing the national interest in our maritime region,” Hammond said. “The agreement will support both Defence and AMSA to uphold Australia’s international obligations for vessel Flag administration, while enhancing Defence’s maritime response options in times of national necessity or crisis.”
Kinley said the MOU was another great example of Australian Government organisations partnering for the benefit of the nation. “We have a close and strong working relationship with Defence and this MOU will enable us to strengthen our maritime responses and operations across a range of situations,” Kinley said. “The MOU helps the civilian and military regulators to have a mutual understanding of the safety, seaworthiness and environmental compliance of ships with changing jurisdictions to ensure none of these issues are compromised. Vessels operating under Defence’s Flag administration have obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and can gain access to the necessary ports, oceans and waterways to deliver missions for the Australian Government. This MOU will enable a quick extension of this regime to civilian maritime vessels when the need arises,” Kinley said.
The Pacific Support Vessel, ADV Reliant is an example of what this MOU will enable. ADV Reliant was procured from the commercial market via a rapid acquisition process. It was quickly transferred from civilian to Defence Flag administration, enabling its timely and flexible employment in support of Australia’s Pacific partners.