The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has laid out a new approach to the ongoing problems relating to crew changes on internationally-crewed vessels. Until October any crew calling on Australian waters can only work for a maximum of 11 months, with certain exceptions.
A master must have a crew change plan before stay onboard can reach the 14 month period, approved by the ship’s flag state.
If a crewmember is found not to have a valid seafarer employment agreement then that person will have to be repatriated. Any vessel found not meeting the minimum safe manning requirements will not be permitted to leave port.
There will be no extensions of service without taking leave beyond 14 months, unless the master or owner or both demonstrate satisfactorily to AMSA that all possible efforts have been expended, without success, to repatriate the seafarer. The seafarer will also need to provide written confirmation accepting the extension.