News 13 Feb, 2012

Australia - Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Industry Passage Plan - Updated

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has recently published an updated Industry Passage Plan covering the mandatory coastal pilotage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

Although compliance with the Industry Passage Plan is not obligatory, AMSA encourages all Masters that are due to transit any of the compulsory pilotage areas in the Great Barrier Reef and/or Torres Strait to consider the recommendations when preparing their passage plans.

The passage plan contains a preamble, lists of standard waypoints to be followed through the compulsory pilotage areas and chartlets of the areas covered. 

The Passage Plan Preamble contains general information on a number of issues including:

  • Routes and draught restrictions
  • Mandatory reporting requirements (REEFVTS)
  • Charts that should be carried
  • Equipment requirements
  • Pilot ladders and boarding arrangements
  • Master/Pilot information exchange
  • Pilot Card
  • Pilotage guidance
  • Bridge resource management
  • Coastal pilotage risk management

The waypoint list to be followed is dependent on the draught of the vessel and it is recommended that the pilotage provider be contacted for guidance regarding which list of waypoints (deep, moderate or shallow draught) will be most suitable for the transit of a particular vessel. It should be noted that the waypoint list for Hydrographers Passage is not draught dependent.

The charlets, although not to be used for navigation, contain useful information including:

  • Tracks and courses
  • Allowable cross track errors
  • Parallel indexes
  • Aids to navigation
  • Tidal guidance
  • Areas where traffic may be encountered
  • The limits of the compulsory pilotage area

Vessels should take account of information contained in the Industry Passage Plan when planning a passage via the Great Barrier Reef and/or Torres Strait and plot the appropriate waypoints and courses on their charts or enter them into their electronic charting systems in advance of arrival.  If after boarding a vessel the pilot finds that the Industry Passage Plan has been adopted, only minor adjustments to the plan may be required depending on operational conditions. A copy of the Industry Passage Plan should be kept on the bridge for reference, and for discussion during the Master/Pilot information exchange.

The various sections of the Industry Passage Plan will not be corrected by Australian Notices to Mariners; they will be updated and re-issued as required.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.