Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Organisational Structure

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) organisational structure consists of the AMSA Board, the Executive and four operational and service areas:

AMSA's head office is in Canberra and its principal offices are in Brisbane, Queensland, Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria, Adelaide, South Australia and Fremantle, Western Australia. The Authority is structured into four operational and service areas.


Management of AMSA is the responsibility of a nine member Board, including the Chief Executive Officer. Members are drawn from private industry and government and bring appropriate skills and expertise to the conduct of AMSA's important commercial and safety maritime activities.

More information on Board members


AMSA's Executive is made up of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Secretary and four Executive Managers.


Operations is responsible for ensuring that the domestic and international shipping community in Australia is operating in accordance with the requirements of the safety regulatory framework (e.g. Navigation Act 2012 and Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Act 2012).  It is responsible for:

  • Conducting inspections of ships and vessels, to ensure their equipment, operational arrangements, cargoes and crew qualifications are in compliance with international and national maritime and pollution prevention standards.
  • Relevant aspects of occupational health and safety and coastal pilotage requirements and the correct handling and loading of certain cargoes.
  • Participating in regional forums to promote consistency in port State control standards and exchange of ship inspection data with neighboring countries.
  • Issuing safety training and maritime qualifications for crew on ships and domestic vessels in compliance with either the standards of the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 95) Convention or Australia’s domestic maritime qualifications standards.
  • Administering the licensing system for coastal pilots and safety regulation of coastal pilotage services under the Navigation Act 2012.
  • Managing the Australian Register of Ships, delivering ship registration services for the commercial shipping, fishing and boating sectors.
  • Implementing an operational safety culture in industry.
  • Managing national arrangements for maritime compliance under both the National Law and Navigation Act.
  • Building and delivering national accreditation arrangements for Marine Surveyors and some Registered Training Organisations delivering maritime training.
  • Conducting industry education and liaison.
  • Improving service delivery arrangements to achieve uniformity.


Response delivers the functions and capability required to meet AMSA’s role in providing a national search and rescue service to the maritime and aviation sectors, preventing and combating ship-sourced pollution in the marine environment, and providing infrastructure to support safety of navigation in Australian waters and aviation and surface assets in support of incident response.

  • AMSA’s Response Centre (the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) carries out operations every day, 24/7, in search and rescue, maritime casualty management and marine pollution response.
  • Domain awareness, incident assessment and response activities are managed for the life cycle of response, from alert to closure.
  • Crisis preparedness and response focuses on preparing for and responding to major incidents, organisational crisis, surge and forward operations capabilities for AMSA, incident response stockpiles and preparing people as resources for response.
  • Our integrated operations are supported by our response planning and support systems which deliver support for response activities including maritime distress and safety communication satellite and terrestrial based networks and Cospas-Sarsat distress alerting systems.
  • We maintain governance of national response operations including major deliverables such as the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies and the National Search and Rescue Plan and Manual.
  • Our asset capability delivers management of our major contracts for aviation, navigation and surface assets including: dedicated airborne SAR capability, emergency towage capability and our network of Aids to Navigation.
  • Response supports AMSA’s obligations under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Conventions, and other international Conventions and plays a leading role in regional and technical cooperation arrangements.


The role of Standards is to maintain the regulatory framework and standards for maritime safety, navigation and marine environment protection for all vessels in Australian waters. This is achieved through:

  • Development and maintenance of Marine Orders.
  • Development of standards and guidance for both safety and marine environment protection, achieved through consultation and engagement at both the international and domestic levels.
  • Provision of nautical advice to… and planning and implementation of suitable navigation measures around our coastline and within Australian waters, including routing measures, provision of nautical advice and approval of Vessel Traffic Services Authorities.
  • Engaging within standard setting organisations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
  • Development and coordination of AMSA's technical cooperation activities.
  • Provision of regulatory advice and support to the other divisions within AMSA.

These initiatives are undertaken to ensure the safe and efficient operation of vessels in Australian waters and to assist in the prevention of vessel incidents, which may significantly threaten our marine environment and the lives of seafarers. Fewer vessel incidents also contributes to stronger global trade and related economic benefits for Australia.

Corporate Services

Corporate Services provides common support services to AMSA, including financial management, human resources, property and business services, performance and reporting, information technology and records management.

Corporate Services also manages AMSA's corporate communication and stakeholder engagement, including media liaison; marketing and events, ministerial, parliamentary and government liaison, and web, publishing and multimedia. .

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