MEPC – Australia – Torres Strait pilotage

INTERTANKO together with INTERCARGO, BIMCO and ICS, submitted a paper to MEPC 55/8/3 raising our concerns regarding Australian Marine Notice 8/2006. The Australian notice and the associated Australian Marine Orders Part 54, state that ships transiting the Torres Strait "must" engage the services of a pilot, and they impose significant penalties for non-compliance.


INTERTANKO has maintained its stance that the legality of the Australian regulation is questionable under UNCLOS, on the basis that IMO resolution MEPC.133(53) was a recommendation.


MEPC 54 has reaffirmed that its previous decision under IMO resolution MEPC.133(53) regarding the taking of a pilot for vessels in transit is a recommendation and not mandatory.


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) brought to the attention of the MEPC that it has just issued a revised marine notice Marine Notice 16/2006 reminding the maritime community that Australia requires that pilots be utilised when transiting the Torres Strait but that while Australia will not stop a ship making the transit without a pilot, it will take enforcement action when the ship next enters an Australian port. It will also report the unpiloted transit to the flag state and to IMO.


Singapore requested Australia to bring its marine notice in line with the decision of the committee regarding ships in transit and INTERTANKO (amongst others) supported this request.


Contact: Howard Snaith