Estimates: Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (Australian Maritime Safety Authority)
Senator RHIANNON: I understand that AMSA is responsible for monitoring flagged vessels compliant with safety and environment protection standards, including the safe carriage of livestock as cargo. Is that correct?
Mr Prosser : That is correct.
Senator RHIANNON: Under the Australian standards for the export of livestock, who is responsible for on-board ship inspections of livestock vessels in Western Australian ports?
Mr Prosser : With AMSA's marine orders, we look after the hardware side of the livestock vessels.
Senator RHIANNON: What do you mean by that?
Mr Prosser : AQIS would look after the animal welfare side of it.
Senator RHIANNON: You look after the animal welfare side?
Mr Prosser : No. We look after the hardware-the vessel itself-to make sure that it meets all safety and environmental standards.
Senator RHIANNON: I asked who is responsible for onboard inspections in Western Australian ports. You have your own inspectors, do you?
Ms O'Connell : Are you talking about inspections of the ship or inspections of the cattle?
Senator RHIANNON: No. I am talking about what your job is. I am trying to understand what your job is.
Ms O'Connell : It is the ship, not the cattle.
Mr Mrdak : Mr Prosser will take you through what his inspectors do.
Senator RHIANNON: That is what I am trying to understand-what your job is and who does it.
Mr Prosser : With the Australian system, we have some very well defined marine orders on the carriage of livestock et cetera. We will look at the ship to make sure that it meets all those requirements as far as ventilation, waste removal and other issues. AMSA is required to make sure it meets all the standards on the hardware side of the vessel.
Senator RHIANNON: When you say hardware, does that get down to what the barriers are, what the cages are, the availability of food and water and the facilities for the availability of food and water? Is it all those things?
Mr Prosser : It is the hardware issues of what sized pens they are in, what sort of ventilation rates they have and how their waste is removed et cetera.
Senator RHIANNON: Are these inspectors? Who pays them?
Mr Prosser : These are our port state control surveyors who make those inspections on the livestock vessels, as they would other vessels that come in around our coast, to make sure that they conform to our standards.
Senator RHIANNON: So are any of them paid by the exporters, or are they completely in your pay?
Mr Prosser : They are AMSA employees.
Senator RHIANNON: Are they contract people?
Mr Prosser : No. They are AMSA staff as surveyors.
Senator RHIANNON: They are your staff?
Mr Prosser : They are experienced mariners and engineers and they are based in various ports around Australia.
Senator RHIANNON: How often are these inspections required to be performed?
Mr Prosser : Are you talking particularly with livestock vessels?
Senator RHIANNON: Yes, please.
Mr Prosser : I will take that on notice, and we will provide detail for that.
Senator RHIANNON: I am interested in how many inspections are required to be performed. Can you explain how we work it out? Is it per year, per week or per how many times this vessel comes to port? Could you explain your methodology there? I am interested in how many inspections have been performed since the beginning of 2014.
Mr Prosser : I think it is best to answer your question on notice.
Senator RHIANNON: On which ships and who performed it?
Mr Prosser : Okay.
Senator RHIANNON: I want to stick with Western Australia. How many inspectors do you have based in Western Australia?
Mr Prosser : We have a number of survey officers in Western Australia.
Senator RHIANNON: And is a survey officer your name for an inspector, is it?
Mr Prosser : That is correct. So in Fremantle and Karratha. I would have to give you on notice the actual number of surveyors in each of the offices in WA.
Senator RHIANNON: If you could and where they are based. I am trying to get a sense of how often these ships are inspected. We do get a number of complaints. I am interested in understanding the process.
Mr Prosser : We take a very proactive approach to where we appoint our port surveyors. We look at what the shipping trends are and what the projected growth is going to be to make sure that we can place our surveyors in the most valuable position to do their job.
Senator RHIANNON: Thank you for explaining that. If you are making that determination so that they are most effective in their job, could you provide the committee with an up-to-date list of the reported concerns and complaints that they have recorded as a result of their inspections?
Mr Prosser : When you say complaints, could you provide a bit more detail on that?
Senator RHIANNON: Issues that they find-that there are not enough water vessels, that the cages are too small or that the cow might get its head caught in the fence as it walks up the ramp. I am not sure. I am just trying to get a sense of whether they identify problems and whether they just randomly report, or whether you have categories by which they make this report.
Mr Prosser : I think the best way to answer that would be, on our question on notice, to provide some information about what deficiencies we have found.
Senator RHIANNON: Thank you for that. When a person goes in to inspect, are they ticking boxes? Are there certain categories that they look for? Or are they just making a general report that you can then file away?
Mr Prosser : All of our surveyors undergo a continuous training regime, where we are make sure they are surveying to a common standard. They are constantly upgraded on that to make sure that their surveys are effective. It is not just a tick the box scenario. They will be looking at the vessel from a number of different aspects.
Senator RHIANNON: And you will be able to supply what those aspects are?
Mr Prosser : I think we should be able to, yes, Senator.
Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.