US concerns over Torres Strait pilotage

Australia and Papua New Guinea have proposed the extension of the current associated protective measure of compulsory pilotage within the Great Barrier Reef to include the Torres Strait [the current system of pilotage of the Great Barrier Reef is included in resolution MEPC.45(30)] - despite the IMO agreeing: "RECOMMENDS" that governments recognise the need for effective protection of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait and inform ships flying their flags that they should act in accordance with Australia's system of pilotage for merchant ships 70m in length and over, or oil tankers, chemical tankers and gas carriers irrespective of size, when navigating the inner route of the Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait and great north east channel; between Booby Island and Bramble Bay.

We reported this in Weekly NEWS and advised that INTERTANKO is undertaking a legal review of the matter.

We are now being advised that the United States State Department has issued a demarche to Australia raising its concerns about the approach taken by Australia.

We will keep members informed.

Contact: Howard Snaith