Prohibition Notices

Table of contents

Do you understand their implication?

So often we hear “we’ll deal with it when it happens” in relation to things that need to be addressed on a vessel. Simple things like maintenance, training, document management, etc.

While that attitude is fine until AMSA drop in and do a routine inspection of the vessel and all the documents. Failing to undertake maintenance where it has a potential to impact on the safety of the vessel is a major issue.

So is failing to undertake regular training (drills) of keeping your records up to date. We also hear “why do we have to do all of this, we never had to before?” Now is the time to accept it simply because it’s law and you HAVE to do it, there’s no way out of it!

A Prohibition Notice effectively ties your vessel up until the defects are cleared by AMSA.

It is not too hard to understand……..
1. you don’t maintain your vessel
2. you get inspected by AMSA
3. the vessel is tied up!

“Prohibition notices specify the remedial actions that must be done to avoid worst-case scenarios which could involve injury or even loss of life,” said Michael Drake, AMSAs Executive Director of Operations.   

True Case ­– The impacts of a Prohibition Notice

AMSA undertook a routine inspection of a passenger vessel with the owner and Master being present. The inspection resulted in a Prohibition Notice being issued to the owner.

A number of concerning issues including unsecured sewage tanks and incorrectly configured plumbing which posed a serious threat to the safety of passengers and the marine environment.

It also included failing to follow the vessel’s safety management system or comply with safety obligations.

While being issued a Prohibition Notice is bad enough, the owner continued to operate the vessel without rectifying the issues identified on the notice.

The breach in itself is a serious concern AND to then blatantly ignore the prohibition notice and fail to make any safety improvements while continuing to operate the vessel shows a level of disregard for people’s safety, marine environment, the law – this AMSA will NOT accept.  

The outcome was a conviction was recorded against the owner and a hefty fine was imposed. Work still had to be undertaken to rectify the issues identified which resulted in not only a conviction and a fine but also loss of income.

Had the owner chosen to rectify the issues and getting the clearance by AMSA, all of this could have been avoided.

Marine Inspectors perform both planned and unscheduled inspections. They will conduct inspections of vessels under the authority of the National Law, checking as to whether the vessel appears to ensure safety of persons, the vessel and the environment.   

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our recommendation is for owners of commercial vessels to be aware of their legal obligation to ensure the safety of passengers and protect Australia’s precious marine environment.

It’s critical for your business to ensure you and your vessels comply with current legislation including vessel structure, maintenance, training and record keeping.


Our tip this week is…… you need to ensure you don’t end up on the receiving end of a Prohibition Notice and if you do, assist you with understanding your requirements in relation to it. If you don’t know what you need or understand, contact our office immediately and we will assist you as a priority.

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