Great Barrier Reef Shipping Report

Media Report from Hon Anthony Albanese MP


In a major step forward for the protection of our iconic Great Barrier Reef the global body responsible for regulating international shipping has agreed to the Gillard Labor Government's request and approved an extension of the mandatory Ship Reporting System to the southern portion of the Marine Park.

From 1 July 2011, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will require all large ships, including those carrying oil, chemicals or liquefied gas, to regularly report their location and route to authorities whenever they are transiting through the Park.

The progress of each vessel will also be continuously tracked by radio and satellite, a further measure designed to prevent accidents and safeguard one of Australia's most precious environmental assets.

Up until now mandatory reporting and tracking only applied to the northern portion of the Marine Park above Latitude 22 degrees south - see attached map.

In preparation for IMO approval, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) have been rolling out the infrastructure necessary to support the reporting system such as sensors, communication equipment and modified navigational software.

This work is now well advanced.

But our efforts to reduce the risk posed to the Reef by shipping don't stop there.  In coming months I will be introducing legislation into the Parliament toughening penalties for breaches of our nation's maritime and environmental laws.

Our aim here is simple: to deter shipping companies and their crews from engaging in unsafe and irresponsible actions at sea, particularly near our environmentally sensitive marine ecosystems.

With nearly 4,000 ships navigating through our waters every year Australia has a strong interest in seeing the development of a cleaner, greener and safer global maritime industry.  That's why the Gillard Labor Government will continue to be an active player within international organisations such as the IMO.

7 December 2010