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Ship insurance

Legislation requires all ships over 15m (for example 15.01m) in length overall* to have enough insurance to pay for potential pollution clean-up, salvage and wreck removal.

The insurance policy must meet the following requirements for the type of ship:

  • A recreational ship more than 15m but less than 35m in length overall must have an insurance policy that provides A$250,000 for pollution clean-up and A$10 million for salvage and wreck removal.
  • A domestic commercial vessel or an “other Queensland regulated ship” that is more than 15m but less than 35m in length overall must have an insurance policy that provides A$500,000 for pollution clean-up costs and A$10 million for salvage and wreck removal.
  • All ships 35m or more in length overall must have a policy that provides A$10 million for pollution clean-up costs, salvage and wreck removal.

Ships visiting Queensland's coastal waters are also required to comply with the legislation. It is recommended that these ships review their existing insurance coverage to determine compliance with this requirement. If the insurance policy doesn’t comply, then these ships must organise temporary insurance while in Queensland's coastal waters.

A current certificate of insurance, or other document evidencing the currency of the insurance policy, must be carried on-board the ship and must detail the relevant limits of cover. The documents must be readily available for inspection by compliance officers. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

For those ships which cannot reasonably obtain insurance, the ship’s owner may be able to seek an exemption to the insurance requirement. In such cases the ship’s owner must apply to Maritime Safety Queensland. For further information on how to apply for an exemption, see the reference document and Ship Insurance Exemption Application form.

For further information contact a Maritime Safety Queensland regional office.


*Extract from Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995 Part 1 Preliminary:

7a Meaning of length overall

(1) The length overall of a ship is the distance in the fore and aft line from the foremost part of the hull of the ship to the aftermost part of the hull of the ship taken at the upper weather tight deck or, for an open ship, at the height of the gunwale.

(2) However, the length overall of the ship does not include the length of appendages to the hull.

For example, a bowsprit or boarding platform is not taken into account when measuring the length overall of a ship.

Last updated
10 September 2018