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Training to help save lives at sea 06 Jul 2015

Operators of domestic commercial vessels are being urged to take advantage of funding now available to help them prepare to meet new safety requirements.

Working at sea is one of Australia’s highest risk occupations, and Safety Management Systems (SMS) can help save lives. The person in control of a domestic commercial vessel must implement and maintain an SMS that ensures the vessel and its operations are safe. 

Projects Manager at the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) Jo-Anne Ruscoe is urging owners and operators to start preparing early for the new safety requirements, which have to be in place by 1 July 2016.

“The Australian Government, through the FRDC, has made available $100,000 in funding to help offset training costs,” Ms Ruscoe said.

“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is rolling out a program of risk management and SMS workshops to help industry meet the new national standards.

FRDC recognises that some industry sectors face particular challenges in accessing this program, possibly due to location, timing, English language proficiency, or sector specific operations. This FRDC funding will complement the AMSA program by addressing these challenges.

“FRDC encourages fishers to get in touch with AMSA or your industry association and ask them if they have training available for you. If you need additional support to access or customise the training, then this funding could help.” 

An SMS must identify and control risks and provide a method to ensure that the risk controls are effective. It should include the roles and responsibilities on board, crew training and induction, procedures for on-board processes, emergency plans, systems for maintenance of vessel and equipment, and logging and recording events.

Eligible applicants for the FRDC funding include:

- Industry associations on behalf of members

- Fishing enterprises where planned activities benefit a group of operators/enterprises

- Training/service providers delivering SMS training to the target group – It is anticipated that this group would submit an EOI in response to an industry request/need for training. 

Expressions of interest close 1 August 2015. Contact jo-anne.ruscoe@frdc.com.au for more information.

The Australian Government’s Policy for a More Competitive and Sustainable Fisheries Sector (2013) included a commitment to assist commercial and recreational organisations adapt to National Maritime Safety Standards, and this funding helps to deliver on this commitment.

The FRDC is one of the organisations funding the Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP), along with the Research and Development Corporations for the meat processing, cotton, grains and livestock industries as well as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. 

For more information about the Partnership, visit www.rirdc.gov.au/PIHSP