Peter Toohey re-appointed to AMSA Board

(posted 29 11 18)

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Mr Michael McCormack has re-appointed AIMPE's Peter Toohey to the AMSA Board. The appointment is for three years and is a second term for Peter on the AMSA Board.  Congratulations to  Peter on his re-appointment.

The Minister's media release highlighted that:

Peter Toohey reappointed to the AMSA Board

Mr Toohey brings considerable experience of maritime salvage operations and is currently Chief Engineer of Brisbane Tugs for Svitzer Australia and Secretary of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said AMSA performed a critical role protecting the nation’s marine environment while supporting safe navigation and marine safety.

Mr McCormack said AMSA also provides a national search and rescue service, and represents Australia at the International Maritime Organization.

“The appointments of Dr Rosalie Balkin AO and Mr Tony Briggs, as well as the reappointment of Mr Peter Toohey, will ensure the AMSA Board has the knowledge, skills and experience to support its ongoing successful management of strategic maritime priorities,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack said Mr Briggs and Mr Toohey both bring substantial experience across different sectors of Australia’s domestic commercial vessel industries, which is an important advancement for the AMSA Board which is now solely responsible for regulating the safety of such vessels.

He said having also held various academic posts, Dr Balkin will bring considerable knowledge to the AMSA Board of several areas of the law, including maritime law.

“I am sure Dr Balkin, Mr Briggs and Mr Toohey will provide invaluable contributions to the AMSA Board throughout their three-year terms, helping maintain Australia’s maritime safety and environmental protection capabilities in line with international best practice,” Mr McCormack said.

AMSA Chair Stuart Richey AM said he is delighted to welcome Dr Balkin and Mr Briggs to the AMSA Board and Mr Toohey’s return.

“These appointments add to the Board’s capabilities with significant expertise in maritime law and the operation of domestic commercial vessels to support our priorities such as the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety,” he said.

“I look forward to working together to ensure AMSA continues to be well positioned into the future to deliver our longstanding mission to ensure safe vessel operations, combat marine pollution and rescue people in distress.”



Automation study by World Maritime University

 (posted 15 10 18)

The Seafarers Section Conference of the ITF Congress on 15th October received a briefing on automation from two representatives of the World Maritime University [an IMO backed institution in Malmo, Sweden].

A copy of the report is attached.


This is not a report from a technology company seeking to publicise its latest product development.


It is a level headed analysis of what actually might happen and the time frame over which it may take place.


In short WMU is forecasting that it will take a very long time to before there are significant numbers of highly automated ships.


WMU also argue that high skilled positions such as Ship Engineers are the least likely to be displaced by automation.


However the WMU also postulate that the first sectors which are likely to introduce highly automated ships are in high cost countries [because the ship owners are likely to have the greatest potential economic benefit].

A copy of the paper can be accessed via the following link:

World_Maritime_University_Automation_paper.pdf World_Maritime_University_Automation_paper.pdf (1.21 MB Mon Oct 15 17:21:38 2018)

AIMPE presents Cabotage Report to Bill Shorten MP

 (posted 10 10 18)

Shorten cabotage

(left to right - Bill Shorten MP, Martin Byrne, Ian McAllister and Michael Bakhaazi)

Federal Opposition Leader Mr Bill Shorten attended the AIMPE Federal Executive meeting in Melbourne on 9th October.

The discussion centred on the urgent need for strengthening of Australia’s cabotage laws.

AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne presented a copy of the ITF/SRI Cabotage Report to Bill Shorten.

AIMPE welcomes Global Report on Cabotage

 (posted 26 09 18)

AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne has  welcomed the release of a new independent report on cabotage laws in countries around the world.

The report was commissioned by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and was conducted by the research organisation Seafarers Rights International.

“AIMPE has opposed the watering down of Australia’s cabotage laws by the Federal Government and has instead called for a strengthening of cabotage in Australia” said Mr Byrne.

“Over the last 6 years Australia has seen the complete demise of our coastal tanker fleet and a further contraction in Australian flag dry bulk ships. Australia now has only 10 Australian flag ships over 2,000 dwt operating with a General Licence under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012."

"Australia needs to take urgent steps to correct this alarming development.”

“AIMPE proposes that the Shipping Registration Act 1981 should be amended so that any vessel which is continuously operated in Australian waters should be required to be registered in Australia. This would close the current loophole which allows the withdrawal of Australian ships and the introduction of continuously operating foreign flag ships with foreign crews under unlimited repeat temporary licences.”

"AIMPE and the AMOU, under the banner of the Nautilus Federation of Australia, have agreed to campaign in support of strenthening Australia's cabotage regime and will be working together on this issue over coming months."

SRI Report on Cabotage Laws

Cabotage Laws of the World key findings:

world’s coastlines of UN Maritime States.

competition, develop human capacity, create jobs, promote the shipping industry, promote

safety and security of ships in port, enhance marine environmental protection and/or preserve

maritime knowledge and technology.

virtually every aspect of cabotage, with great diversity in the interpretation, administration and

enforcement of cabotage.

international law. Regional and national definitions of cabotage vary widely.

A full copy of the report is available here:

Nautilus Federation of Australia                                                                                         

(posted 03 07 18)

 The Nautilus Federation of Australia has taken another step forward as senior officials of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers and the Australian Maritime Officers Union met in AIMPE offices in Melbourne on Monday 25th June.

Nautilus Federation of Australia Operations Committee - from left to right:

AMOU President Capt Tim Higgs;

AIMPE Federal President Martin Byrne;

AIMPE Federal Treasurer Ian McAllister; and

AMOU Executive Director Mark Davis.

Top on the list of matters for discussion is office sharing for the two unions’ operations around Australia. 

The officials have set target dates for relocations in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle which will see both unions operating from the same address in each of these three ports.

The moves will provide cost savings for both unions and is also intended to provide for closer integration of working relations between the two officer unions.

A revised Memorandum of Understanding was signed by AMOU President, Capt. Tim Higgs and AIMPE Federal President Mr. Martin Byrne which deals with the relocations and with possible further co-location arrangements in Brisbane, Newcastle and other ports.

The Nautilus Federation of Australia has also discussed opportunities for joint campaigning on key issues relating to the interests of Australian Deck and Engineer Officers.

Sharing space in the WA union rooms.

The AMOU in Western Australia is refurbishing its Fremantle premises. Whilst this occurs the AMOU will share the Institute's Stock Road Palmyra premises; beginning on Monday 26 March for expected duration of five weeks.

Our island nation must right the ship on sea power

Josh Wilson - Federal Labor member for Fremantle; read the story here: Shipping Josh Wilson Shipping Josh Wilson (10.31 KB)

DOF Labour agreement rejected by AIMPE & AMOU

AIMPE objects to DOF proposed labour agreement. View objection here: AIMPE objection to DOF proposal AIMPE objection to DOF proposal (482.53 KB)

and view Dynamic Positioning Training here: DP Training course DP Training course (810.59 KB)

AMOU rejection can be viewed here: AMOU respond to DOF Labour proposal AMOU respond to DOF Labour proposal (869.41 KB)


Nautilus Federation Report

- questions safety of Autonomous Shipping.

Read the report here: 

future_proofed.pdf future_proofed.pdf (5.74 MB)


Toxic chemical linked to Navy veteran's Parkinson's now posing danger to some Australian suburbs

Keith Bailey spent 36 years in the Australian Navy and rose to the rank of commander, but his service to the country came at great personal cost.

The Navy has conceded it left him with Parkinson's disease as a result of exposure to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE.

"When I joined the Navy in '67 I didn't have Parkinson's, and when I left in 2003 I did have Parkinson's," Mr Bailey said.

"So whatever it was that caused Parkinson's happened on their watch."

In 2016 the Department of Veterans' Affairs formally recognised exposure to TCE as a cause of Parkinson's.

Mr Bailey believed he was the first Australian veteran to have such a claim approved.

"If you had 2,000 hours' exposure to trichloroethylene, there was a reasonable hypothesis that your Parkinson's was caused by trichloroethylene," he said.

Mr Bailey said TCE was in an ingredient in a metal cleaner called Turco Solv, which he used on ships to clean motor parts.

"The workshop was down a few decks, so it was enclosed," he said.

"When you stripped a motor you got it all over your overalls. You'd be working 10- to 12-hour days.

"When you finished your day you had the grease all over you. You'd wash yourself down in Turco Solv, so you'd use it to get the grease off your body as well."

Diamond Offshore, BHP & EXPRO have a run-in with NOPSEMA. 

The following from the Weekend West Australian 20-21 Jan 2018

We should all be relieved Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Monarch drilling rigabout 9km off City Beach is between jobs.

The offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has come down hard on Diamond Offshore for venting gas to areas where it put workers at risk while working to abandon wells at BHP’s Griffin oil field mid last year.

After the first occurrence in June, “no actions were taken to stop work and re-assess the risk”, and the dangerous venting was repeated during at least three more well abandonments. Diamond did make some changes to the equipment after the first well, but there was “inadequate management of modifications of safety critical equipment”.

EXPRO, which handled the well fluid for BHP, was also bought to task. BHP, which was in control, did not escape the regulator’s wrath. Its people also failed to stop the work and, after finding deficiencies in the testing of EXPRO’s equipment, did nothing about it.

Diamond and EXPRO were issued improvement notices by NOPSEMA last month after the regulator finished its inquiries.

BHP senior management has to front up and explain to NOPSEMA how they have changed their ways.

The Bull understands the Ocean Monarch will be towed away next month for work in the Bass Strait for Cooper Energy. Let’s hope all is safe this time.



It has been brought to AIMPE's attention that Hunter TAFE has pulled down Marine Engineering courses from its website, without so much as a courtesy call to your Institute to explain why.

Disturbingly, only Deck Officer Training remains.

Your AIMPE understands the courses are still being run but, inexplicably, all advertising has been removed.

Please find below, links to AIMPE's own copies of these removed Marine Engineering courses:

 Advanced Diploma Marine Engineering Class 2

 Diploma Engineer Watchkeeper

 Diploma Class 3 NC

 Statement of Attainment Steam/Diesel Class 2

 Proficiency in Survival Craft STCW

 Revalidation Certificate Of Competency

 Marine Engineering AMSA Oral Exam Preparation

 Operation & Maintenance of Marine Electrical Systems


The front page story on the Sun Herald and the Sunday Age newspapers on 3rd September 2017 has exposed the rort that is taking place with the subclass 400 visa.

When the Federal Government changed the 457 visa scheme in April 2017 Ships Engineers were removed from the list of occupations that were open for temporary workers to come to Australia.

Now it has been revealed that the subclass 400 visa is being used by some Offshore vessel operators as a substitute for the 457 visa.

This can only be described as a sneaky and manipulative use of political power.

AIMPE will continue campaigning against this abuse of power. As we did with the 457 visa scam, AIMPE will use every avenue available to stop these visas being issued while there are unemployed AIMPE members ready willing and able to work on  these vessels.