Title:

Identifying electronic platforms to increase safety at sea in the Australian commercial fishing fleet

Project Number:

2018-106

Organisation:

Diversity Sustainable Development Consultants Pty Ltd

Principal Investigator:

Geoff R. Diver

Project Status:

Completed

FRDC Expenditure:

$22,336.00

Program(s):

Industry

Need

A need exists to identify an electronic platform which can accurately and automatically receive a signal from Australian fishing vessels wherever they operate to determine in a timely manner if the vessel is still able to receive and transmit a signal. There is also a need to determine a protocol for timely action if a signal has been deemed to be lost. This could include actions such as: • Contacting a shore based representative of the vessel • Notifying the sea safety and rescue authorities • Other actions deemed relevant There is also a need to have an electronic platform which can alert skippers of heightened risks from fast developing, or fast changing weather and sea conditions.

Objectives

1. To identify an electronic platform which can accurately and automatically receive a signal from Australian fishing vessels wherever they operate to determine in a timely manner if the vessel is still able to receive and transmit a signal.

2. To determine a protocol for timely action if a signal has been deemed to be lost

3. To identify an electronic platform which can alert skippers of heightened risks from fast developing, or fast changing weather and sea conditions

4. To make recommendations for the integration of these platforms into regulation through Australian maritime and fisheries jurisdictions

Identifying electronic platforms to increase safety at sea in the Australian commercial fishing fleet

Final Report
ISBN:978-0-6486705-0-6
ISSN:
Author(s):Geoff Diver
Date Published:September 2019

Maintaining safety at sea requires a multi-faceted and complex system including coordinating vessel integrity and the carriage of the correct equipment, the provision of accurate information on weather and sea conditions, the training of the crew and managing their actions at sea. 

Providing a swift and professional response when a vessel is in distress requires a similarly complex system of an alert being issued by the vessel, the capacity of the search and rescue authorities to be able to accurately pinpoint the location of the vessel in a timely manner, and having the necessary interagency structures to launch a rescue mission.

The purpose of this report was to examine the range of electronic platforms typically found on fishing vessels and to investigate if these could be incorporated into a process, policy, or procedure which could increase the maritime safety of the Australian fishing fleet.

In analysing these electronic platforms, this report has concluded that Emergency Positioning Radio Beacon (EPIRB) should remain the primary distress signalling platform for Australian fishing vessels.  EPIRB signals are monitored globally by dedicated search and rescue authorities which have the expertise and resources to triage the initial distress signal, and coordinate a search and rescue mission.