AMSA has released the 2019 Review of the North-East Shipping Management Plan (NESMP) to enhance the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and the Coral Sea region.
In 2014, Queensland and Australian government agencies developed the NESMP in conjunction with industry and key interest groups. Its aim was to reduce the effects of large commercial ships transiting the environmentally sensitive waters of northeast Australia.
AMSA recently concluded a review of NESMP to assess the progress of the work items and strengthen management measures. The revised plan aims to ensure that ships that visit these areas are of the highest standards and that they operate safely.
AMSA CEO, Mick Kinley said that the waters off the northeast coast of Australia are some of the most environmentally sensitive sea areas in the world and shipping in this area plays an important role in Australia’s economy.
“To date, the NESMP has formed the basis of a national strategy to minimise the effects that shipping has on our unique marine environment, Mr Kinley said.”
“So far, we have focussed on implementing measures to enhance ship and navigation safety, reduce the impacts of shipping on marine mammals, address biosecurity risks, expand special protection measures for our most sensitive sea areas and establishing a pollution response fund.”
The revised plan focuses on further enhancing ship and navigation safety, greater incident response capabilities, improvements to traffic management, better quality nautical charts and the implementation of marine biosecurity best practice management.
“When international ships visit this unique region of the world, we expect them to be of the highest standards. The NESMP outlines the steps we are taking to address the potential risks that shipping brings to this area of Australia” Mr Kinley said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said the plan will ensure vital international trade in North East Australia continues in the most environmentally sustainable manner.
“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring these sensitive areas remain the best-protected waters in the world,” Mr McCormack said.
“The review found that many of the risks identified in 2014 remain relevant. These risks will continue to be managed through ongoing improvements that will safeguard Australia’s world heritage listed areas.”