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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Vessel Check

Effective vessel management for marine biofouling not only prevents the introduction and spread of introduced marine species (IMS), but also provides considerable economic benefits, including increased vessel performance and speed, reduced day-to-day running costs (lower fuel consumption), reduced maintenance costs, extended life of vessel and gear, and reduced costs for emergency responses following the detection of an IMS in the waters of Western Australia (WA).

To assist vessel managers with effective vessel management use Vessel-Check portal (https://www.vessel-check.com)

About Vessel Check

Vessel-Check’ is designed to increase awareness and education on the control and management of vessels’ biofouling and mitigate the potential transfer of IMS. Additionally, the Vessel-Check Portal provides a risk-based assessment of vessels current management to better inform any IMS risk interventions. Vessel-Check aids in (importantly pre-border) identifying any vessel management actions and processes which can ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ (ALARP) mitigate the risk of vessels transferring IMS from one jurisdiction to another.

Maintaining your vessel risk to ALARP will reduce the likelihood of transferring live non-endemic or noxious fish (including IMS) into WA contrary to the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA), and may also provide evidence to support a defence to any charge under this legislation.

Any vessels entering the State of WA may be subject to inspection by the Department’s compliance team.  Inspections may be in-water or document-based to check the vessel is not carrying an IMS and remains compliant with the FRMA.

How does Vessel Check work?

The Vessel-Check portal provides an indicative risk assessment for a vessel, based primarily on the documented management practices used to mitigate the transfer of IMS. It follows the ‘best practice’ set out by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) guidelines (MEPC.207(62)). Vessel-Check portal assessment is achieved through the following approach:

  1. The vessel company registers on the portal, and sets up appropriate users for company (e.g. vessel operations managers/officers, vessel masters, vessel agents etc)
  2. Vessel user creates a vessel profile and uploads any biofouling management information specific for their vessel (e.g. copy of vessels biofouling management plan, antifoulant coating certificate etc)
    1. A vessel profile documents biofouling management practices, and characteristics of the vessel (e.g. is there an antifoulant coating etc)
    2. A vessel profile is only created once, with the user only needing to update the vessel profile when changes occur or when biofouling management actions are implemented (e.g. record management practice in record book of vessels profile)
  3. An indicative biosecurity/IMS risk of the vessel (based on the information provided in the vessels profile) is automatically calculated when the vessel designates a Western Australian port as its destination port (through its transponding Automatic Identification System (AIS)
    1. Users can download a risk report for their vessel which contains a summary of the vessel’s information, and a range of recommended management options to reduce the vessel IMS risk status.
  4. Regulators can also view the vessel information and any associated indicative risk report.  Regulators are also notified of the vessels arrival into their jurisdiction using an automated notification based on the AIS data.

It is then up to you as a vessel owner, agent or manager a vessel to consider the actions suggested and decide which actions are most appropriate for your vessel to ensure potential IMS risks are mitigated to ALARP.

Who should use Vessel Check?

Vessel-Check is intended for use by owners, operators, agents and managers of commercial vessels (which have a transponding AIS system) for all international and interstate vessel movements to Western Australia.

Future versions of Vessel-Check will have the ability for smaller commercial vessels and recreation vessels (e.g.yachts) to conduct manual destination port nominations (non-AIS nominations).  Meanwhile, please see the information on good vessel management on these web pages, or contact us for assistance. Through these developments and continuing the use of Vessel-Check we will aid in the control and management of biofouling and mitigate the potential transfer of IMS and contribute to ensuring WA’s aquatic biosecurity .

Resource projects that are subject to ministerial conditions under the WA Environmental Protection Act 1986 should also continue to carry out risk assessments and management activities as specified in those conditions. 

Why should I use Vessel Check?

The tool is designed to support a vessels ongoing effective management of vessel biofouling, encourage best practice (aligned with IMO guidelines), and may also provide evidence to support a defence to any charge under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA).

Using the Vessel-Check Portal provides reassurance that the vessels management practices are adequate for the proposed voyage and that indicative vessel biofouling risk is ALARP. The Department will be able to review the assessment and provide pro-active advice to ensure WA’s maintained aquatic biosecurity as well as minimised impacts to vessel operations.

When should I use Vessel Check?

Creating a vessel profile well in advance of your intended voyage to WA, will allow sufficient time to plan for and carry out management actions or to coincide with regular maintenance plans, should they be required.

Feedback

We are committed to continuous improvement of the Vessel-Check Portal and your feedback is welcomed and will be considered for future developments. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you to ensure WA’s aquatic biosecurity.

Contact our Aquatic Pest Biosecurity Section to provide feedback or to learn more about WA aquatic biosecurity.  

Last modified: 29/11/2019 2:41 PM

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The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.