Australian Maritime Safety Authority

About the Shipping Registration Office

The Australian Register of Ships was established on Australia Day, 1982. From this day, ships owned by Australians could be registered in this country.  Prior to this they were added to the British Register  kept in Australia and registered under the British Merchant Shipping Act 1894.

Before the establishment of the Australian register, successive Australian governments had agreed that it was important, both symbolically and in practice, for ships of Australian owners to be recognised at home and abroad as being Australian vessels.

It is the right of every country to determine conditions for the granting of its nationality to ships, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).  Therefore the establishment of the Australian Register of Ships was seen as a significant addition to Australia's international status as an independent nation.

The main purpose of the Shipping Registration Act 1981, together with its associated regulations, is to fix the conditions for the registration of ships in Australia and to grant ships Australian nationality. It also provides for Australian ships to fly the Australian National Flag or the Australian Red Ensign.

Since the formation of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in 1991, the Shipping Registration Office has been a part of the Authority.

In 2012 the Shipping Registration Act 1981 was amended to incorporate provisions for the Australian International Shipping Register.  This was designed to provide a register that is a competitive alternative to other international registers and which is available to Australian companies that own or operate ships.

The business of the Shipping Registration Office includes the establishment of the ownership of ships, the granting of certificates, maintaining the Australian Register of Ships, the issue of Continuous Synopsis Records (CSR) to ships required to carry them, and providing public access to the information held in the Australian Register of Ships.


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