Ship vetting guideline for bulk carriers moving through the Great Barrier Reef
The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) has a 2020 target that shipping within the Great Barrier Reef is safe, risks are minimised, and incidents are reduced to as close to zero as is possible.
One of the key shipping action items captured in the Reef 2050 Plan is for the maritime industry to adopt ship vetting practices for bulk carriers. Specifically, the Reef 2050 Plan revised action item MTR EBA1, states:
'maritime industry to adopt ship vetting practices for bulk carriers to ensure they meet high safety standards. Vetting practices should take into account the quality of the ship, competence of the crew, ship emissions and general protection of the marine environment considerations'.
Industries and companies reliant on shipping can help to ensure the current and future threats to the Reef are addressed in an effective, efficient and appropriate manner, by embedding practices within their operations that minimises the impact of shipping on the Reef.
To assist the maritime industry in adopting this action, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), in consultation with key industry stakeholders, has developed a guideline containing criteria and indicators for industry to consider when vetting ships for charter or risk.
It is envisaged that the guideline will help reduce the environmental impact on the Great Barrier Reef, foster safer shipping practices relating to the operation and structural requirements of ships and encourage improved crew training and welfare.