Applicability: Owners and operators of vessels loading and discharging in Australia

Operators of all vessels loading and discharging cargo in Australia are reminded of the need to comply with the requirements of Marine Order 32 (MO32) from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Recent events have highlighted the consequences of non-compliance, with one vessel having to depart Australia after being unable to discharge her cargo.

AMSA has advised that with immediate effect it will cease to use its risk assessment process as a means of resolving disputes relating to the loading and unloading of cargo. Regulation will now rely on MO32 and its current wording.

Mandatory provisions

Provisions in MO32 which use the word “must” are considered mandatory by AMSA. If a ship is not compliant with a mandatory provision related to a loading /unloading requirement at the current port then the affected area of the ship must not be worked unless an exemption or equivalent is in place. The following procedures apply:

  • If AMSA is in attendance, an SVCC (non-convention deficiency notice) noting the non-compliance will be issued.
  • The PIC (Person in Charge) may request AMSA to issue an exemption under section 9.2.2 for the specific operation.
  • The operator may request AMSA to issue an exemption under section 9.2.1 on a more permanent basis.
  • The PIC or the operator may request an equivalent under section 9.3.1.
  • Any request for exemption or equivalent will require the provision of evidence to the effect that work can be undertaken in a safe manner. Granting of these exemptions and/or equivalents is discretionary.

Recommendatory requirements

Provisions in MO32 which use the word “should” or are contained in a ‘note’ are considered recommendatory by AMSA. If a ship does not comply with a recommendatory requirement then the issue should be resolved in the work place on a case-by-case basis. AMSA will not issue deficiencies on an SVCC in these cases. AMSA may note that the ship does not appear to comply with recommendatory requirements of MO32 and that it is the obligation of the terminal, PIC and ship to ensure there is a safe system of work in place as required by applicable state work, health and safety (WHS) legislation.

What should owners and operators do now?

Owners and operators of relevant vessels should review their arrangements against MO32, even if the vessels have a satisfactory history of cargo handling in Australia. Lloyd’s Register can support owners by reviewing arrangements against MO32 and issuing a factual statement. Detailed information can be obtained from the AMSA website: 

Marine order 32 - cargo handling equipment

For further information 

Speak to one of our experts at your local Lloyd's Register office.