Role statement - Australian Maritime Safety Authority

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is an Australian Government Statutory Authority and an Australian Government emergency first responder agency with a public safety focus.

The Australian Government has a responsibility under a number of international conventions to provide:

  • A maritime and aviation search and rescue service, within the Australian Search and Rescue Region covering 52.8 million square kilometres of land and sea
  • A response to pollution in the marine environment
  • That these obligations have been nationally legislated
  • Measures for ship and crew safety.


Critical task alignment / activity source



Development and implementation of legislation designed to enhance safety of ships and crews, and maintain qualifications of crews



Prevent and mitigate pollution from ships



Building awareness of aviation and maritime safety through participation in seminars, aircraft, boat and 4WD shows, safety campaigns and journal articles



Promotion and registration of distress beacons for safety in aviation, maritime and remote land activities including bush walking

1.4, 1.5


Participation in national emergency planning, preparedness and mitigation measures



Participation in relevant aviation, maritime, emergency management and critical infrastructure forums, exercises, and training



AMSA is a participating agency, as shown in the Mitigation table (Table 8), for the following maritime emergency (non SAR) mitigation activities:
●  Condition surveys for vessel class, commercial charter, and insurance requirements

●  International Maritime Organisation licensing requirements and audits for vessel crews

●  Implementation of International Safety Management code requirements (e.g. safety management system)

●  State and national audits and inspection of commercial vessels, port infrastructure, offshore facilities (note vessel condition monitoring done by Commonwealth)

●  Navigational systems including charts, Vessel Tracking Service, Dynamic Under Keel Clearance system, marks, aids to navigation (wave, wind, tide, swell etc.), personal pilotage units etc.

Mitigation table


Response (including Relief)


Control agency for both aviation and maritime search and rescue, and distress beacon detection



Control agency for marine pollution responses originating from ships within Australian waters falling outside of a state or the Northern territory



Control agency for ship casualty within Australian waters falling outside of a state or the Northern Territory



Development and maintenance of maritime navigation safety



Promotion of aviation and maritime search and rescue and development of associated arrangements



Manager of the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies including management of oil spill response equipment stockpiles, an aerial dispersant capability and a national team of trained responders and emergency managers

12.4, 16.5




For recovery activities, refer directly to the agency for further information.


Assurance and Learning


For assurance and learning activities, refer directly to the agency for further information.