Maritime emergencies

We are the control agency for level 1 maritime casualties (non-search and rescue) of all vessels in coastal waters, not in commercial and local port waters. We are also a support agency for level 2 and level 3 maritime emergencies.

For the purpose of delineating roles and responsibilities, maritime emergencies are divided into four categories: maritime casualty, oil spills, hazardous and noxious substance spills, and wildlife affected by marine pollution events.

The consequences of major maritime emergencies may include the loss of marine habitats and wildlife from oil and chemical spills or other pollutants, economic losses due to impacts on shipping, tourism and fisheries, loss of cargo, as well as social impacts through the loss of amenity and access to coastal areas. These consequences can last many years, for example, chronic coastal pollution resulting from a major oil spill.

State Emergency Management Plan

The Victorian State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) is prepared within the context of the Emergency Management Act 2013 objectives to:

a) foster a sustainable and efficient emergency management system that minimises the likelihood, effect and consequences of emergencies; and

b) establish efficient governance arrangements that

  • clarify the roles and responsibilities of agencies; and
  • facilitate cooperation between agencies; and
  • ensure the coordination of emergency management reform within the emergency management sector; and

c) implement an ‘all communities, all emergencies’ approach to emergency management; and

d) establish integrated arrangements for emergency management planning in Victoria at the state level.

In accordance with the legislation, the SEMP is prepared by the Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner and endorsed by the State Crisis and Resilience Council.

The SEMP outlines the emergency management arrangements for Victoria to inform all levels of planning – state, regional and municipal. The SEMP provides a coordinated and comprehensive approach to emergency management at the state level, containing provisions for the mitigation of, response to and recovery from emergencies and specifies the roles and responsibilities of agencies in relation to emergency management.

Levels of incidents

Incident Typical features
Level 1

The region and/or state tiers are not activated for control:

  • the response is day-to-day business and the incident is managed by a control agency’s incident management team
  • the response is in the incident area only
  • the response duration is less than or a single shift
  • there is little to no potential for escalation.

The region and/or state tiers are not activated for coordination:

  • there is a single or limited multi-agency response
  • resources can be sourced from one local government district.

The regional and state tiers are not activated for recovery coordination: there is little or no impact on the community and infrastructure.

Level 2

The region and/or state tiers are activated for control:

  • the incident is of medium complexity
  • the response duration is multiple shifts
  • there are one or two incident areas
  • the incident could potentially become an emergency
  • the incident involves multiple hazards.

The region and/or state tiers are activated for coordination:

  • a limited multi-agency response is required
  • the resources of more than one agency must be coordinated
  • there is a medium-term impact on critical infrastructure
  • resources are sourced from the district or state levels
  • there is a medium impact on the community.
Level 3

The region and/or state tiers are activated for control:

  • the incident is of high complexity
  • the response duration is protracted
  • there are multiple incident areas
  • the incident could likely become a state of emergency or lead to the declaration of a state of disaster.

The region and/or state tiers are activated for coordination:

  • there is significant impact on critical infrastructure
  • there is actual or potential loss of life or multiple, serious injuries
  • there is major impact on the routine functioning of the community, which needs the establishment of relief services.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you, your feedback is valuable to us.