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Monday, 19 August 2002
Page: 4923

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 14 May 2002:

(1) Has the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) conducted an investigation or recommended any prosecutions in relation to the incident where the vessel Mirande became stuck in Port Phillip Bay in June 2001 and the Magistrates Court found the ships master was paralytic drunk at the time of the incident; if not, why not; if so, what has occurred.

(2) Does AMSA regularly audit the qualifications of persons going to sea as qualified masters, officers or seafarers; if so, (a) how many audits have been conducted in each of the past 5 years, (b) how many breaches were found in each year and (c) did prosecutions follow those breaches; if so, how many prosecutions were successful.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) AMSA investigated the Mirande grounding in relation to any breaches of ship safety or pollution prevention provisions of the Navigation Act 1912 and the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 and found no grounds to recommend a prosecution under these provisions.

Following a breath analysis by the Victorian Channels Authority which found the master had a high blood alcohol level, AMSA asked the Australian Federal Police to separately investigate potential breaches of the Navigation Act 1912, in particular, section 269N, Offences - Reports of Movements of Ships, and section 386A, Impairment of Person's Capacity to Carry out Duties as Master or Seaman. The master was subsequently convicted and fined in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 4 July 2001.

(2) AMSA does not audit crew certificates, however, it regularly inspects crew qualifications during flag State and port State control ship inspections:

(a) Audits/inspections: 1997 - 3131; 1998 - 2946; 1999 - 2753; 2000 - 2926; 2001 -2913.

(b) Breaches/deficiencies: 1997 - 133; 1998 - 130; 1999 - 127; 2000 - 67; 2001 - 69.

(c) No.