The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and indeed all government agencies, their stakeholders and the public at large, saw unprecedented challenges in 2019–20.
Bushfires ravaged Australia over summer, destroying homes and businesses, disrupting travel and necessitating large scale, sometimes maritime, emergency evacuations. AMSA was able to assist in response actions, and continued its regulatory actions without significant disruption. Thankfully, damage to Australia’s aids to navigation network was minimal.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a fundamental change to the way we live and work. Social distancing, lock downs, border closures (and the associated impacts on international crew repatriation), health and safety considerations for seafarers, coastal pilots and ship inspectors, had to be managed while maintaining our focus on safety.
Our attendance and influence at international fora was tackled via teleconference and telephone. Our offices closed to the public as we looked for ways to deliver services remotely, and a significant proportion of AMSA staff worked from home. Despite the disruption, AMSA continued to deliver on our priorities (see Snapshot summary - Qualitative).
At the time of writing it is unclear how long the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt, and indeed what the ‘new normal’ may look like. AMSA continues to look for ways that we can deliver our core business of safe and clean seas, saving lives in this fluid, uncertain environment. In my foreword in last years’ report I thanked the CEO and his executive team for the leadership that they had shown through changing and challenging times. Little did I know that the challenges would be compounded by a global pandemic! On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the entire AMSA team for their continued professionalism and resilience.