The Purpose Of The MSIC
The MSIC, or Maritime Security Identification Card, is a combination ID card and proof of security clearance. The MSIC follows a standard format all across the Australia, allowing for immediate recognition and making it easier to spot fakes. Since 2007, they have enabled port authorities to more easily control secure areas, by requiring a MSIC be displayed by anyone who needs unmonitored access to said areas.
The basic idea behind the MSIC is simple. They're issued to people who have undergone a background check for the purposes of entering any Maritime Security Zone, or MSZ. Don't make the mistake of thinking they're access cards, however. They are simply identification to prove that the holder is cleared to enter a MSZ. Final call on whether or not the holder is allowed inside is up to whoever is in charge at the port or facility that the MSZ is inside.
An important thing to note is that you'll be required to renew your Maritime Security Identification Card every two or four years. Background checks to see if you are still allowed access to an MSZ, and thus if you're still eligible to hold a MSIC, are performed every two years. Obviously, if you don't pass this background check, your MSIC is no longer valid. It also needs to be said that, should you leave the maritime environment for 12 months or longer, or no longer need access to it for whatever reason, it will expire at that point, as well.
While there are several different authorities that can issue an MSIC - 21 to be precise - they're all forced to follow the same general guidelines. One of these guidelines is that all background checks are handled by the same group, Auscheck. The reason for this is quite simple. By making sure that the requirements for the MSIC are uniform, and the background checks always handled by a branch of the Attorney General's Department, the powers that be are able to ensure that only those who should have access to MSZs are given an MSIC.
All of these different facts combine together to produce a fairly obvious point. Namely, that the MSIC is one of the better ways to ensure proper security at maritime and offshore sites where they're needed. The simple act of ensuring that only those who have passed a proper background check, vetted by the authorities, are allowed access to these secure areas, can help prevent a lot of potential harm.