The Passenger Transport Act 1990 allows OTSI to investigate any safety occurrence involving a vessel, with a seating capacity for more than 8 adults, involved in providing a public passenger service.
An investigation may be initiated by the Chief Investigator as the result of a safety occurrence or the following the identification of an adverse safety trend.
The purpose of an OTSI investigation is to identify why accidents and incidents occur and to make recommendations to prevent recurrence. OTSI Investigation reports are tabled by the Minister for Transport in both houses of the NSW Parliament and are also published on OTSI's website.
The nature of OTSI investigations is different to those carried out by safety regulators and enforcement agencies. OTSI applies a 'just culture' approach where the primary purpose is to identify the contributory factors that leads to a safety occurrence, rather than apportion blame. That said, if it is identified that the safety occurrence was the result of a malicious act, then the matter will be referred to the NSW Maritime Authority or the Police.