Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Vessel track data disclosure and dissemination policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the underlying principles for the disclosure and dissemination of vessel tracking information under agreed conditions.

Scope

This policy applies to the disclosure and dissemination of vessel tracking data obtained from a range of sources, including the Australian Ship Reporting System (AUSREP); the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Ship Reporting System (REEFREP), data obtained through the Long Range Identification and Tracking system (LRIT) and information collected through the Australian Automatic Identification System (AIS) shore station network.

This policy also applies to the disclosure and dissemination of vessel track data obtained from other sensors, such as satellite AIS or terrestrial AIS collected from non-Australian sources, as may be indicated in any agreement for the collection of such data.

This policy does not cover the release of other forms of information by AMSA other than vessel tracking data, although the same legal considerations would need to be taken into account in such cases.

Definitions

The following definitions relate to terms used specifically in this document. Other definitions can be found at the beginning of the Management Manual.

ACBPS

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

AIS

Automatic Identification System - a data link that uses the VHF (very high frequency) radio band to transmit data packets of information.

AFMA

Australian Fisheries Management Authority

AMIS

Australian Maritime Identification System – developed by Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) to facilitate whole of government maritime domain awareness.

AUSREP

a ship reporting system for the Australian Search and Rescue Region (SRR). AUSREP is mandatory for vessels between Australian ports, voluntary for other vessels. (IMO SAR Convention, Chapter V).

MDA

Maritime Domain Awareness - the effective understanding of any activity associated with the maritime environment that could impact on the security, safety, economy or environment.

REEFREP

Ship reporting system in place for the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait (as per IMO SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 11 and Resolution A.851(20))

REEFVTS

The facility that provides the service for REEFREP, including sensor input to facilitate interaction with vessels and the provision of ship traffic information, consistent with the delivery of a coastal VTS (as per IMO SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 12 and Resolution A.857(20)).

VESSEL TRACKING

The ability to monitor the movement of vessels, both in real time and from a statistical / historic perspective to respond to differing requirements. (AMSA VT program charter and mandate).

VMS

Vessel Monitoring System – a system used by AFMA for monitoring of fishery vessels.

The Policy

AMSA supports the disclosure and dissemination of vessel tracking data to support maritime domain awareness. The disclosure and dissemination is governed by the legal requirements.

1 Legal Requirements

AMSA must disclose vessel tracking information to comply with any legal obligation to which AMSA is subject (e.g. Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, a court order or a statutory notice compelling production of information).

AMSA may disclose vessel tracking information where:

  • the disclosure is for purposes consistent with AMSA’s functions under s6 of the AMSA Act 1990 (The Act), i.e. for combating pollution in the marine environment, for providing a search and rescue service, for performing other functions conferred on AMSA by any other Act (e.g. Navigation Act);
  • the disclosure is for purposes consistent with s11 of The Act, i.e. for maritime domain awareness, including security, maritime safety, and protection of the marine environment or for transportation efficiency.

AMSA may specify terms and conditions applying to disclosure consistent with either s6 or s11 of The Act.

Unless authority to release information under s11 of The Act has been delegated, the CEO’s approval must be sought in each case.

2 Terms and Conditions applying to disclosure of information

Subject to legal requirements identified in section 1, AMSA may disclose vessel tracking information based on the terms and conditions outlined in this section.

2.1 Benefits

The benefits for AMSA and / or the external party must be identified and assessed to be worthy as part of a cost-benefit assessment before information is disclosed.

2.2 Cost principles

The following cost principles apply to the disclosure and dissemination of vessel track data:

  • Disclosure of vessel tracking information under s6 of The Act, i.e. to support AMSA’s functions, may be undertaken at net cost to AMSA, subject to normal considerations of cost-benefit, budget and financial delegations to incur expenditure.
  • Disclosure of vessel tracking information under s11, i.e. to support the functions of an external party, should be net cost neutral to AMSA, or nearly so.
  • The cost assessment may include non-monetary considerations, such as cost-savings to AMSA arising from joint action with the parties.

2.3 Constraints

Vessel tracking information may be provided to external parties on an ongoing, near real time, unfiltered ‘as received’ basis, or as historic / collated information, subject to constraints as identified below:

  • Commonwealth agencies engaged in maritime security (Defence, Customs and Infrastructure) – no constraints;
  • Other Commonwealth agencies - to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above;
  • State (including Territories) - to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above. These agencies may be authorised to share AMSA-sourced vessel tracking information with other entities within the State to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above.
  • Port authorities and agencies - to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above. These agencies may be authorised to share AMSA-sourced vessel tracking information with other entities associated with operation of the port to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above;
  • Service providers (such as pilotage providers, shipping agents & owners) - to the extent that is necessary to meet the purposes in section 1 above but limited to information on vessels in an area of direct interest;
  • Foreign parties – as negotiated in relevant memorandums of understanding and approved by the CEO.
  • Educational, training or research organisations – as negotiated in written agreements for the use of the data in educational, training or research activities as approved by the CEO.

3 Provision of vessel tracking information to the general public

AMSA may provide historic information to the general public provided this activity remains incidental to the primary purpose for collection of the data. Any released data must include a disclaimer as to accuracy and suitability for purpose, and must be sanitised of commercially valuable content.

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