Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Incident reporting for commercial vessels

Reporting accidents or incidents on a ship

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) must be notified within four hours of becoming aware of any incident that has affected, or is likely to affect the safety, operation, or seaworthiness of the vessel.

How do I submit an incident report?

There are two steps to reporting an incident.

1. Incident Alert

Complete AMSA Form 18 [PDF Icon PDF: 34Kb] AMSA Form 18 [PDF Icon DOC: 100Kb].

The incident alert form should be sent from the owner/operator or master to AMSA as soon as possible and within four hours of the incident being made known.

This incident alert will inform authorities that an incident has happened, but it will not include all the information that will eventually be required.

Send the form to:
Email: reports@amsa.gov.au or
Fax: +61 2 6230 6868 or 1800 622 153 (free fax within Australia)

2. Incident Report

Complete AMSA Form 19 [PDF Icon PDF: 47Kb] AMSA Form 19 [PDF Icon DOC: 145Kb].

An incident report is a more detailed follow up report and must be forwarded from the owner/operator or master to AMSA within 72 hours.

Send the form to:
Email: reports@amsa.gov.au or
Fax: +61 2 6230 6868 or 1800 622 153 (free fax within Australia)

When is incident reporting required?

Section 18 of the Transport Safety Investigation (TSI) Act 2003 requires a responsible person to report marine accidents and serious incidents to a nominated official as soon as possible.

Note: A responsible person is defined by regulation as the Master or person in charge of the ship, the owner or operator or the agent, or a pilot who has duties on board the ship. A nominated official includes a member of the staff of AMSA.

Vessels which are required to report under sections 185, 186, 197 and 312 of the Navigation Act 2012 are required to report under the TSI Act, however, the completion and submission of form ‘AMSA18 by a responsible person is sufficient to fulfill the obligation to report imposed under section 18 of the TSI Act.

As such there is no need to send a separate report to comply with this requirement.

Under Australian law, heavy penalties can apply if operators don't comply with reporting requirements.

What constitutes marine incidents?

Sections 185 and 186 of the Navigation Act 2012. A report of marine incidents (as defined in section 14 of the Navigation Act 2012) must be made by the master or owner where:

  • The vessel is involved in a marine incident that has affected, or is likely to affect the safety, operation or seaworthiness of the vessel
  • The vessel is involved in, or causes a marine incident that involves:
    • the death of a person
    • serious injury to a person
    • the loss of a vessel
    • the loss of a person from the vessel
    • significant damage to a vessel
    • loss of cargo of a vessel.

This applies to all ships in Australian waters and Australian ships anywhere.

Dangers to navigation

Section 187 of the Navigation Act 2012. A report of dangers to navigation must be made by the master where:

  • The master meets with, or is informedĀ  of any serious danger to navigation on or near his or her course
  • A serious danger to navigation includes, but is not limited to any of the following:
    • dangerous ice
    • a dangerous derelict
    • a tropical storm
    • sub-freezing air temperature associated with gale force winds causing severe ice accretion on superstructures
    • winds of force 10 on the Beaufort scale for which no storm warning has been received.

This applies to all ships in Australian waters and Australian ships anywhere

Incidents involving people on-board

Section 312 of the Navigation Act 2012. If a person on the vessel gives birth, dies or disappears or a seafarer is injured or contracts an illness that incapacitates him or her from the performance of his or her duty, the master must:

  • record the incident in the vessel’s official logbook
  • give a written report as soon as practicable.

This applies to regulated Australian vessels anywhere.

Cargo handling equipment

Section 15.3 of Marine Order 32 (Cargo Handling Equipment) requires a report for any incident involving failure of a ship's material handling equipment or injury to any person when engaged in cargo work.

This applies to all ships in Australian waters.

Occupational health and safety incidents

For prescribed ships or units (e.g. Australian ships, offshore industry units) on international or interstate voyages, section 107 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 requires notification and reporting of:

  • an accident that causes the death of, or serious personal injury to, any person
  • an accident that causes an employee who performs work in connection with the undertaking to be incapacitated from performing work for a period of 5 or more successive days (section 11 of OHS(MI) Regulations 1995)
  • a dangerous occurrence, which is an occurrence that could have caused the death of, or serious personal injury to, any person at a workplace.

More information is available on the AMSA OHS inspectorate webpage.

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