Offshore facility security

An efficient, safe, and secure maritime transport system and offshore oil and gas industry is integral to Australia's social and economic well‑being.

Australia takes a comprehensive approach to help safeguard Australia's offshore facilities and service providers from terrorism and acts of unlawful interference. This approach is based on the principle of 'security in depth', meaning the more layers of security, the less chance an attack will occur or be successful. This framework is necessary to safeguard Australia's offshore oil and gas supplies and prevent adverse impacts on this industry.

Regulation of offshore facility security in Australia

The Australian Government regulates the security of Australian maritime transport and offshore facilities through the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 (MTOFSA) and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003. This legislation was introduced in response to Chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1914 (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code 2003 (ISPS). The MTOFSA sets out a regulatory framework which centres on maritime industry participants developing security plans.

The Department is responsible for administering the MTOFSA and its regulations, while maritime industry participants are responsible for delivering security on a day-to-day basis.

Offshore industry participants

Offshore industry participants are a sub category of maritime and are described as a facility located in an offshore area that is used for the purpose of extracting petroleum. This means that any requirements for maritime industry participants can also apply to offshore industry participants.

Offshore industry participants include:

  • offshore facility operators;
  • offshore service providers; and
  • contractors who provide services to an offshore facility operator.

Security assessments and plans

Security plans

The MTOFSA requires certain maritime industry participants to hold an approved security plan.

  • Offshore facility operators are required to have an offshore security plan.
  • Offshore service providers are required to have in place an offshore security plan. However, this does not apply if they have arranged to be covered by an offshore facility operator's security plan, or if they have an appropriate existing maritime security plan or transport security program in place.
  • Contractors who provide services to an offshore facility operator are not required to have an offshore security plan.

All security plans must set out, among other things:

  • measures that need to be in place at different maritime security levels;
  • the powers and responsibilities of officials, including maritime security guards;
  • procedures for incident reporting;
  • screening and clearing measures to prevent the introduction of weapons and prohibited items; and
  • how the maritime security identification card (MSIC) scheme will be implemented.

Security assessments

As part of developing a security plan, it is necessary for maritime industry participants to undertake a security assessment. There are requirements outlined in the MTOFSA on what is to be included in a security assessment undertaken as part of developing a security plan.

Due to the sensitive nature of the contents of security assessments, these documents should be protected from unauthorised access, amendment or disclosure at all times.

Compliance with offshore security plans

Any maritime industry participant has an obligation to behave in a manner that does not hinder or obstruct compliance with an offshore security plan of an offshore industry participant.

Security zones

Offshore security zones can be established to further safeguard against unlawful interference. An offshore security zone can help control the movement of people and ships within the zone as it is subject to additional security requirements.

Any offshore security zones must be included in the offshore security plan for the offshore facility operator.

Reporting security incidents

There are requirements for certain maritime industry participants, including offshore facility operators to report security incidents. An employee of a maritime industry participant is also required to report a security incident to their employer as soon as possible.

Oil and Gas Security Forum

The Oil and Gas Security Forum within the Australian Government's Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN) provides a formal mechanism for regular consultation and information sharing on 'all hazard' security matters between the Australian oil and gas industry and government agencies. Further information is available on the TISN website.

Regulatory guidance and templates

A range of guidance, templates and resources for the offshore facility sector.