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Places of Refuge in a Federal Jurisdiction the Australian Experience

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the management of places of refuge in a federal system of government where the states and territories have jurisdiction over internal waters and some of the territorial sea. The issue has been of concern in Australia since the 'Kirki' incident off the West Australian coast in 1991 and the 'Iron Baron' grounding off northern Tasmania in 1995. There is no single authority in Australia responsible for marine safety, and these situations required the Commonwealth government to negotiate with state governments regarding the location of a possible place of refuge for ships in need of assistance. The chapter concludes that despite agreement in 2002 on the National Maritime Place of Refuge Risk Assessment Guidelines, there is still some uncertainty between the various state and Commonwealth agencies and port authorities over who has power to grant a place of refuge to a vessel in distress.

Keywords: federal system; place of refuge; West Australian coast



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