MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
THE AUSTRALIAN TRANSPORT SAFETY
THE NATIONAL OFFSHORE PETROLEUM
INVESTIGATION OF TRANSPORT SAFETY
AND RELATED MATTERS
National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority
1. The Parties
1.1. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is an operationally
independent bureau within the Department of Transport and Regional
Services (DOTARS). Under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003
(TSI Act), the Executive Director of the ATSB is responsible for the
investigation of transport safety matters in the aviation, marine and rail modes
1.2. The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) is a statutory
authority established under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 (PSL
Act), with responsibilities for regulation of occupational health and safety on
offshore petroleum facilities.
2. Purpose of the Memorandum
2.1. This MoU is intended to clarify the roles of and relationships between the
parties in carrying out their respective statutory functions for the regulation of
occupational health and safety at or near offshore petroleum facilities and for
the investigation of transport related safety incidents at or near offshore
2.2. This MoU is not intended to create legally enforceable obligations between
the parties but sets out mutually agreeable voluntary undertakings.
2.3. The Attachments to the MoU do not form part of the MoU. Attachment A
lists relevant contacts for reporting safety matters and consulting on the
provisions of this MoU. The parties undertake to provide each other with
expedient updates to changes in the information forming Attachment A.
3. Commitment to Achievement of Safety Outcomes
3.1. Both parties confirm their commitment to achieving the best possible safety
outcomes at or near offshore petroleum facilities and in transport safety as it
relates to offshore petroleum facilities.
3.2. The parties agree that safety outcomes at or near offshore petroleum facilities
are best achieved through mutual support, cooperation, transparent practices
and professional relationships.
4. Notification of safety matters
4.1. NOPSA is not a ‘responsible person’ under the Transport Safety Investigation
Regulations 2003 for reporting Immediately Reportable Matters (IRMs) and
Routine Reportable Matters (RRMs) in the aviation and marine modes of
transport. However, where NOPSA becomes aware of an IRM or an RRM
associated with an offshore petroleum facility that it believes the ATSB is not
aware of, NOPSA undertakes, as soon as is reasonably practicable, to report
the matter to the ATSB in accordance with the notification contact details in
4.2. Where the ATSB considers that NOPSA may not be aware of an incident
concerning an offshore petroleum facility, the ATSB will notify NOPSA, as
soon as is reasonably practicable, in accordance with the notification contact
details in Attachment A.
5. Notification of investigation status
5.1. As soon as is reasonably practicable, after the time of initial notification of an
IRM or RRM, affecting an offshore petroleum facility, the ATSB will inform
NOPSA whether or not the ATSB intends to conduct an investigation.
5.2. NOPSA will inform the ATSB as soon as is reasonably practicable of its
intention to investigate a transport safety matter that NOPSA is aware that the
ATSB is also intending to investigate.
6. Cooperation in Investigations
6.1. To the extent practicable, the parties agree to cooperate in conducting their
respective investigations to ensure that each other’s functions do not impede
the other’s investigation or statutory obligations.
6.2. If either party considers that an investigation is creating an unreasonable
impediment, it will promptly raise the matter with the other party. Both
parties will endeavour to expeditiously resolve impediments to the maximum
7. Conduct of Investigations
7.1. Where the ATSB and NOPSA have notified each other that they have decided
to investigate the same occurrence, they agree to share information and
material, as appropriate, in the course of an investigation, including for any
preliminary or initial assessments and may request technical or specialist
assistance from each other, in order to establish the facts of the incident.
7.2. Requests for technical or specialist services by either party will be considered
subject to the availability of suitable resources and work priorities of the party
requested to provide the service.
7.3. Costs for specialist assistance will be paid in accordance with clause 10 of
7.4. Information exchanged will comply with the confidentiality requirements of
relevant legislation and the organisation. See clause 11 of this MoU
7.5. Where the ATSB issues a notice under s.32 of the TSI Act for a NOPSA
employee to produce information or attend before the Executive Director, the
ATSB will endeavour to give not less than 3 business days’ notice for
NOPSA to respond. NOPSA will endeavour to cooperate in exceptional
circumstances where shorter notice is unavoidable.
8. Findings and Reports of Investigations
8.1. Prior to publishing an Investigation Report involving an offshore petroleum
facility, the ATSB will forward a draft report to NOPSA for comment and
NOPSA may forward written submissions to the ATSB. NOPSA will
endeavour to forward its written submissions within 28 days of receiving the
8.2. Where appropriate the ATSB will seek clarification or further evidence from
NOPSA in order to make an informed decision on any submissions.
8.3. Where there are substantial disagreements between NOPSA and the ATSB
about the content of an ATSB draft report, the ATSB will seek to consult with
NOPSA to resolve the difference or find the most appropriate way to take
them into account when preparing the final report.
8.4. The ATSB will provide NOPSA with a copy of the final report of its
8.5. NOPSA will notify the ATSB when an OHS inspector has produced a report
or issued a notice in accordance Schedule 7 of the PSL Act where NOPSA is
aware that the ATSB is investigating a matter to which the report or notice
relates. NOPSA agrees to provide the ATSB with a copy of the report or
notice. If the parties consider that the report or notice needs to be protected
as restricted information this will be facilitated by the ATSB issuing a section
9. Research and safety promotions
9.1. The ATSB and NOPSA share an interest in education and promotion of
research into transport safety and agree to:
(a) where appropriate and practicable, seek to develop complementary
safety promotion and education programmes; and
(b) where requested and where practicable, assist safety research by
providing safety information that does not identify the individuals
concerned to each other.
10. Cost Recovery
10.1. Where the ATSB requests specialist services from NOPSA and the services
are provided solely for an ATSB investigation, the ATSB agrees to pay the
full cost of providing those services as agreed.
10.2. Where NOPSA requests specialist services from the ATSB and the services
are provided solely for a NOPSA investigation, NOPSA agrees to pay the
full cost of providing those services as agreed.
10.3. Where either party requests involvement in an investigation of the other
party, each party will bear its own costs.
11. Disclosure of information
11.1. The parties acknowledge that information exchanged under this MoU is
provided and received on the basis that:
a). it will be kept confidential;
b). it will not be disclosed except as required or authorised by law or as
agreed between the parties; and
c). the agency which has possession or control of confidential
information shall ensure that the information is protected by such
safeguards that are reasonable and in accordance with any request
by the agency providing the information.
11.2. The parties will ensure that Ministers and the Executive of affected agencies
are kept informed of the progress of investigations. Regular progress reports
will be provided to the nominated contact points within the ATSB and
NOPSA for this purpose.
11.3. The parties recognise that information may be required by their respective
Minister’s office for media and other briefings. Both parties will ensure that
appropriate information is made available to the Minister’s office in a timely
11.4. Where NOPSA considers it appropriate, NOPSA will commence
administrative or enforcement actions against relevant persons or
organizations, notwithstanding any ATSB investigation in progress, and may
disclose information it has obtained during its own investigations, as
necessary, in the interests of offshore petroleum safety.
12. Commencement, Variation or Termination
12.1. This MoU will operate from the date of signing by the parties.
12.2. This MoU may be terminated or varied at any time by agreement in writing
by both of the parties.
12.3. The Attachments may be updated from time to time by the party responsible
for the information. The other party will be notified immediately of any
13.1. Signed and dated this 14th day of January 2005
SIGNED for and on behalf of the National SIGNED for and on behalf of the Australian
Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority by Transport Safety Bureau by
[Certified as signed by John Clegg, NOPSA CEO] [Certified as signed by Kym Bills, ATSB Executive Director]
John Clegg Kym Bills
Chief Executive Officer Executive Director
National Offshore Petroleum Safety Australian Transport Safety Bureau