Part 1: Introduction

Maritime Safety Authority: Progress in implementing recommendations of the Review of Safe Ship Management Systems.

Why we conducted an audit

In 1997, when we reviewed risk management in the Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand (the MSA), we noted that it was introducing the Safe Ship Management System to improve the day-to-day safety of domestic commercial vessels. We said this system had the potential to be more effective than the annual ship inspection system that existed at that time, but that much would depend on the MSA enforcement system.1

Safe Ship Management was introduced in 1998, and Safe Operational Plans – a scaled down version of Safe Ship Management for smaller commercial vessels – was progressively introduced in 1999 (see paragraphs 2.8-2.27).

In 2000, the MSA commissioned a report on the new system by independent consultant Pacific Marine Management Limited, which highlighted some issues needing attention.

In 2002, the MSA commissioned an independent review of the Safe Ship Management System by maritime safety experts Thompson Clarke Shipping Pty Ltd. This review (the SSM Review), while endorsing the philosophy and intent of Safe Ship Management, did contain some criticism of the administration and delivery of the Safe Ship Management and Safe Operational Plans systems, and made 29 recommendations aimed at improving them. The MSA Board approved the implementation of 11 of those recommendations.

Because of the extent of the findings and recommendations from the SSM Review, we wanted to determine how effectively and efficiently the MSA has implemented the review’s recommendations.

Objectives of our audit

Specifically, our key audit objectives were to:

  • examine whether the MSA Board had adequate information to make well-informed decisions on which SSM Review recommendations to implement;
  • examine the time frames involved in implementing the recommendations and whether the MSA Board was monitoring the implementation of the approved recommendations;
  • examine whether the MSA Board properly considered the costs to the industry of implementing the proposed changes;
  • examine the effectiveness of consultation with key stakeholders; and
  • examine progress in implementing the approved recommendations.

How we conducted the audit

We interviewed the Chairperson of the MSA Board and MSA staff, making use of standard questions focusing on our audit objectives. We examined key MSA documents to verify responses.

We interviewed representatives of the 3 largest SSM companies – approved private service providers – which provide 87% of Safe Ship Management services to operators.

We also interviewed 5 commercial adventure tourism operators based in the Rotorua and Christchurch areas.

1: Report of the Controller and Auditor-General, Fourth Report for 1997, parliamentary paper B.29[97d], pages 109-119.

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