On 18 June 2015 the Australian Senate called an inquiry into the
increasing use of so-called 'Flag of Convenience' shipping
The call for the inquiry has arisen out of the death of two
seafarers and one superintendent in three separate events on board
the "Sage Sagittarius" during a six week period in late
2012. The inquiry follows the December 1992 House of
Representatives report 'Ships of Shame, Inquiry into Ship
Safety', which contributed to a period of international
shipping safety and welfare reform. One of the terms of reference
of the inquiry will be to consider the progress made since the 1992
Submissions on the inquiry are required to be lodged before 7
Terms of Reference
The terms of reference for the inquiry are "the
increasing use of so-called Flag of Convenience shipping in
Australia, with particular reference to:
the effect on Australia's national security, fuel
security, minimum employment law standards and our marine
the general standard of Flag of Convenience vessels trading
to, from and around Australian ports, and methods of inspection of
these vessels to ensure that they are seaworthy and meet required
the employment and possible exposure to exploitation and
corruption of international seafarers on Flag of Convenience
discrepancies between legal remedies available to
international seafarers in state and territory jurisdictions,
opportunities for harmonisation, and the quality of shore-based
welfare for seafarers working in Australian waters;
progress made in this area since the 1992 House of
Representatives Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and
Infrastructure report Ships of Shame: inquiry into ship safety;
any related matters."
Submissions and Report
The terms of reference are far-reaching and include matters of
shipping security, employment standards, vessel inspection and Port
State Control. To the extent that any adverse findings are made, it
is likely that this will result in recommendations for legal and
regulatory reform in these areas, which could have substantial
impacts on the conduct of shipping to and from Australia.
Accordingly, it is essential that interested and affected
industry participants and bodies and so-called 'Flag of
Convenience' flag State authorities lodge submissions for
consideration by the Committee in the preparation of its report. If
submissions are not lodged, the findings and recommendations of the
Committee may not be properly informed and/or in accordance with
international commercial shipping practices.
Submissions must be received by the Committee no later than 7
August 2015. The Committee's report is expected to be released
in early 2016.
Our Transport team can assist in preparing and lodging any
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This decision will be significant to aviation industry participants in assessing whether claimants in the context of international or domestic carriage by air have commenced claims in an appropriate forum in Australia.
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