Home' Ausmarine : September 2009 Contents NEWS
The National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) has reminded
the Australian marine industry that the next raft of national
standards for commercial vessels enters legislation nationally
on October 1 this year through an amendment to the USL
Code (Amendment 7).
This round of reform will see six sections of the National
Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) come into force for
The relevant standards are:
• Construction (NSCV Part C Section 3)
• Stability Information (NSCV Part C Subsection 6A)
• Stability Tests (NSCV Part C Subsection 6C)
• Communication Equipment (NSCV Part C Subsection 7B)
• Navigation Equipment (NSCV Part C Subsection 7C)
• Anchoring Systems (NSCV Part C Subsection 7D).
A seventh section, Operational Practices (NSCV Part E), will
apply to new and existing vessels. However, the new
requirements will become compulsory for certain high-risk
NMSC's CEO Margie O'Tarpey explained that the USL Code
was widely, although not universally, implemented by state,
territory and Commonwealth marine safety agencies as the
standard for commercial vessels.
"This amendment provides a convenient way to replace the
old USL requirements -- developed nearly 30 years ago --
with a much more modern and flexible set of standards,"
Ms O'Tarpey said.
"NMSC's charter is very much about achieving nationally
uniform marine safety standards so each raft of standards
adopted into law around the nation is a significant step towards
reaching that goal".
For those jurisdictions that currently allow vessels to comply
with the USL Code, a new vessel which submits an application
prior to October 1, 2009, can be built to these existing
requirements provided construction work begins within a three-
year period. However, design approvals submitted after October
1, 2009, must comply with the new standards.
"This allows a transitional period for vessel builders over the
next couple of months," Ms O'Tarpey said.
NSCV C3 -- Construction references Lloyds Special
Service Class Rules and is a key standard for national marine
Industry representatives welcoming the next phase of
standards entering legislation nationally include naval architect
Mr Taylor views the completion of the stability standards
(C6A -- Intact Stability Requirements and C6C -- Stability Tests
and Information) as another important step toward the ultimate
completion of the NSCV.
"These parts of the NSCV are a major upgrade reflecting
current international standards," Mr Taylor, who is also the
Secretary of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA)
"They provide a consistent approach, application and
terminology for all types of vessels, something that was missing
from the previous USL Code.
"Gaps and lack of detail in parts previously meant that the
naval architect often needed a knowledge of what was left unsaid
to allow proper application -- the new standards' thorough
coverage means that even the novice can confidently apply the
"This detailed, consistent approach should also ensure
consistent application by all state authorities and their ready
acceptance of vessels when transferring interstate," he added.
The national standard for navigation equipment (NSCV C7C)
reflects the latest in marine navigational technology. The
Australian Maritime Safety Authority's AIS Project Manager Jillian
Carson-Jackson said that Section 7C of the NSCV delivers, for the
first time, a uniform national standard for nautical charts and
associated navigation systems -- and particularly Electronic Chart
Systems scaled for vessel size and operating areas.
"Its introduction will foster improvements to navigation
safety comparable to those achieved by larger vessels
administered under the SOLAS Convention while recognising
that the circumstances and needs of operators of smaller
commercial vessels may differ," Ms Carson-Jackson said.
Section 7C also includes carriage requirements for Automated
Identification Systems (AIS) on certain vessels, including
reference to either Class A or Class B units, depending on vessel
size and area of operation.
Captain John Paton is a former airline pilot who now operates
fishing charters. He welcomes the national requirements for
Communications Equipment (NSCV C7B) saying that, "effective and
efficient communication is one of the key factors in vessel safety".
"Communication technology has come a long way since
Marconi's wireless -- Digital Selective Calling and Satellite
Communications were not around when the current regulations
were drafted and they need to move with technology," Captain
"As with the aviation industry a 'be seen and be heard' set of
standards is essential for high levels of safety to be maintained".
Ian Ford, Managing Director of major Sydney ferry company
Bass and Flinders, said the requirements for Operational Practices
(Part E) of the NSCV are a giant leap for marine safety, especially
through the Safety Management System (SMS).
"Of course years ago mariners built up knowledge and
experience by being around boats to know how to operate safely.
We are now in a different time where the vessels are different and
the operators do not have a solid background, so this national
standard is all-important," Mr Ford said.
In agreement with Captain Paton he said: "just as airlines
have safety check systems, Part E allows the marine industry to
have an inbuilt national safety checklist so everyone around the
country is able to do the right thing to operate our vessels safely.
"I'm particularly looking forward to the time when there is a
national standard so that the SMS requirements are the same
Once in place, the seven standards will join the first raft of
standards which entered legislation nationally in October 2008.
Fire Safety (NSCV C4); Engineering (NSCV C5), Safety
Equipment (NSCV C7A) and Fast Craft (NSCV F1) were adopted
successfully last year.
Seven commercial vessel standards to enter national law
September 2009 AUSMARINE
The National Marine Safety Committee seeks to install uniform regulations
in the latest round of commercial vessel standards
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