Operator Guidelines for vessels less than 25 metres
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This document provides guidance to operators of vessels less than 25 metres intending to arrive in Australia. It outlines the AQIS requirements for vessel clearances in accordance with Australian Government legislation.
For further information contact the AQIS Seaports Program through its national or regional offices.
Operator guidelines for vessels less than 25 metres arriving in Australia
Table of Contents
- AQIS contact details
- Approval for vessels to enter Australia
- Quarantine pre-arrival reporting requirements
- Additional reporting requirements
- Human health
- Time limit Pratique
- What to expect during an inspection
- Quarantine waste
- Goods that can and can't be brought into Australia
- Ship's pets
- Ballast Water
- Vessels returning from the Torres Strait
- Importing a vessel into Australia
- Fees and charges
- Useful contacts
- The requirements in this document are to be used as a guide only and are subject to change. It is the responsibility of the user to check that they have the latest version and to ensure compliance with the legislation. The version you are reading is the latest version.
- The requirements contained in this document are those of AQIS only and do not include the requirements of any other Australian Government agency.
- Links to other websites are provided for the user's convenience and do not constitute endorsement of all material at those sites, or any associated organisations, products or services.
- If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this document, you do so at your own risk.
- AQIS may revise this Disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
- In addition please refer to the general disclaimer for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) .
Updates will be published on this web page with the specific sections updated described in the revision table below:
|Version||Date||Author||Description of change||Section|
|1.0||08/02/09||Riza Rontas||Development of guidelines||Seaports Program|
|1.1||13/05/09||Riza Rontas||Regional consultation||Seaports Program|
Sections 4, 8
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to operators of vessels less than 25 metres intending to arrive in Australia. The information contained herein outlines the AQIS requirements for vessel clearances in accordance with Australian Government legislation, namely:
- Quarantine Act 1908
- Quarantine Regulations 2000
- Quarantine Proclamation 1998
- Quarantine (Christmas Island) Proclamation 2004
- Quarantine (Cocos Island) Proclamation 2004
- Quarantine Service Fees Determination 2005
AQIS is part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and plays an essential role in maintaining Australia's animal, plant and human health status.
Quarantine controls at Australia's borders are governed by the Quarantine Act 1908. These controls aim to minimise the risk associated with the introduction of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and help protect our agriculture export industries as well as our environment, tourism industries and lifestyle.
AQIS administers human quarantine functions on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), including the screening of arriving passengers for human quarantinable diseases, surveillance activities relating to Ship Sanitation Certification (SSC) and vector monitoring.
The AQIS Seaports Program is responsible for the quarantine clearance of all incoming overseas vessels, vessel waste, crew, passengers and their accompanied goods.
Section 20 of the Quarantine Act 1908 requires overseas vessels to enter an Australian first port of entry. Permission to enter an alternative port can be requested from AQIS under section 20AA of the Quarantine Act 1908. Obtain a 20AA application form.
Australian First Ports that have been proclaimed are listed in section 8 of the Quarantine Proclamation 1998.
A Master of a vessel is guilty of an offence under the Quarantine Act 1908 if they permit a vessel to be moored, anchored or otherwise secured anywhere other than a first port of entry, unless written permission is provided by AQIS.
Under section 27A (2) of the Quarantine Act 1908, vessels which are less than 25 metres are required to report prescribed information to a quarantine officer 96–12 hours before the estimated time of arrival at an Australian port. The information can be provided verbally or in writing. If the information changes after it is given, an update of the changes must be provided again as soon as possible. Prescribed information, as set out in Section 10(2)of the Quarantine Regulations 2000 includes:
- the name of the vessel
- Masters name
- Country of Registration
- call sign
- overall length
- the last port of call of the vessel and the date of departure from that port of call
- the Australian first port of arrival, estimated time and date of arrival
- the number of persons on board the vessel
- if there have been any deaths during the voyage
- If any person on board the vessel during the voyage is founf to be suffering from illness, the cause, the suspected cause, of the illness and the number of people who are found to be suffering from the illness.
- If the symptom prescribed by sub regulation 6(1) of the Act presents itself in a person on board the vessel during the voyage, the nature and cause (or suspected cause) of the symptom, and the number of people in whom the sypmtom is present.
- If any live animal is on board the vessel, the number of animals on board, and a description, including the health and condition, of the animals
- if any live plants are on the vessel
- have any insects, including termites, ants, and bees been discovered on board the vessel and
- proposed movements in Australia
This information may be given in the following manner:
- phoning or emailing AQIS Seaports Program at the intended port of arrival – see contacts
- sending an email to the National Seaports Program (emails are only monitored during normal office hours)
- calling Quarantine via radio (via channel 16). Note: Not all AQIS offices have a radio communication capability.
Alternatively, this information can be provided to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in the manner prescribed on their website.
Failure to comply with a requirement to report under section 27A or giving false or misleading information is an offence under the Act. A Master of a vessel may also be asked by a quarantine officer to answer questions about the above prescribed matters.
Regulation 19 of the Quarantine Regulations 2000 requires the Master of a vessel to provide AQIS with at least 48 hours notice of any proposed changes of moorings of the vessel, the estimated time of departure from the port and whether the port is the last port of call prior to departure from Australia.
Failure to comply with a requirement to report under regulation 19 or giving false or misleading information is an offence.
Please note, regulation 19 is required for surveillance only and only if there are quarantine risks remaining on the vessel.
The Quarantine Act 1908 requires the Master of a vessel to immediately notify a quarantine officer if a person onboard displays a prescribed symptom;* or a prescribed or infectious disease breaks out onboard the vessel prior to arrival. The obligation also applies if the Master believes or suspects that a quarantinable disease has broken out or a quarantinable pest is onboard.
* Prescribed symptoms are listed in regulation 6(1) of the Quarantine Regulations 2000. Further information about prescribed symptoms is available from the Reporting an Illness: Important Quarantine Information for International Ship and Air Crew brochure. Please refer to the Department of Health and Ageing website to order copies of the brochure for your vessel.
Failure to comply with the requirement to report a prescribed symptom or disease is an offence.
Pratique, in practice, is the permission granted by AQIS for a vessel arriving in Australia to disembark passengers or crew (noting that the vessel itself, or cargo and some person or goods may continue to remain under Quarantine control).
The quarantine signal (yellow flag or lights) must be flown upon entry until pratique is granted to the vessel.
Granting pratique includes providing the Master of the vessel with a formal certificate on an approved form at their first port of arrival. Under no circumstances are any persons permitted to leave the vessel prior to pratique being granted.
If a request for pratique is refused, the Master of the vessel must fly the quarantine flag (yellow flag or quarantine lights if at night).
Failure by a Master of an overseas vessel to fulfil pratique requirements is a breach of the Quarantine Act 1908.
Time Limited Pratique (TLP) may be issued to vessels which present a potential biosecurity risk with timber pests due to one or all of the following factors:
1. The vessel is constructed using a large amount of timber.
2. The quality or nature of timber used is of concern.
3. The vessel has spent periods of time in countries that contain burrowing timber pests exotic to Australia.
TLP ends twelve months from the date of issue, or at any time when the master of the vessel has reason to suspect a pest or disease of quarantine concern may be on board the vessel.
Before the Time Limited Pratique period ends, there are two options, either:
- the vessel must leave Australian waters; or
- a more extensive timber inspection is arranged with AQIS.
If the vessel leaves Australian waters before the end of the Time Limited Pratique period, then there is no need for further timber inspections. AQIS notification of the vessel’s departure is required.
If the vessel intends to stay in Australian waters beyond the Time Limited Pratique period, but no arrangements have been made with AQIS, then the vessel automatically becomes subject to quarantine, and AQIS must be contacted to arrange a timber inspection.
If a pest problem becomes evident at any time the Master is required to contact AQIS immediately so that the problem can be investigated if necessary.
Any vessel under Time Limited Pratique must not conduct any repairs or refits without prior AQIS notification. Further information about timber pests.
Upon arrival in an Australian port a quarantine officer will board the vessel to complete paperwork and perform a physical inspection of all accessible areas including a brief timber inspection.
9.1 Interview with the Master
The interview with the Master provides the quarantine officer with the opportunity to verify the health status of the vessel, people and animals (where applicable) onboard. The quarantine officer will also view all relevant documentation which includes verifying the information on the QPAR is correct. The interview with the Master provides an opportunity for verbal declaration on anything that may have changed.
9.2 Vessel inspection
On arrival at a first port of entry the vessel may be subject to a physical inspection by a quarantine officer. The inspection may include:
- assessing the health of persons onboard
- inspection of timber components of the vessel and any history of damage or refits
- inspection of personal effects/articles
- confirmation of the management of any plants or animals onboard
- removal of all material that is identified as posing a potential quarantine risk
- removal of waste* (refer to section 9 of this document)
- examination of galley and store rooms for signs of insect or rodent infestation
- assessing biofouling risks
- water collection/storage containers which may contain vectors
- anchors, chains and other ancillary gear which may have biofouling issues
- information regarding the stripping process/moving from international articles to coastal articles
- other treatment may be required as directed.
9.3 Post inspection interview with the Master
Once the quarantine officer has completed the inspection a post inspection interview is conducted with the Master to discuss any quarantine issues identified in the vessel inspection.
All international vessels may be subject to surveillance inspections on succeeding days at the first port of arrival and subsequent port/s of call to ensure continued compliance with all quarantine directions.
The definition of Quarantine Waste from the Quarantine Regulations 2000 includes:
- Material used to pack or stabilise cargo (dunnage)
- Galley and food waste
- Human animal or plant waste
- Refuse or sweepings from holds or decks of vessels or installation.
For operational purposes the following are also considered to be quarantine waste and shall be treated as such:
- Any other waste or other material, which comes into contact with quarantine waste
- Contents of AQIS amnesty bins
- Any goods surrendered to a quarantine officer
- Articles seized by AQIS which are not collected by clients
- Any other import that will not be used in the manner for which it was imported and is to be destroyed.
While in port, all vessel waste on deck must be secured so that it is inaccessible to birds or animals i.e. bagged and in lidded deck bins.
No plant or animal material is to be taken off the vessel without prior permission from AQIS.
Quarantine officers are not responsible for the collection and disposal of quarantine risk material, however at times may remove small amounts. If it is not possible for the inspecting quarantine officer to remove the waste, it is the Master's responsibility to ensure that the waste is dispose of by an AQIS approved service provider (a fee for service will be charged to the vessel).
Waste is one of the prescribed matters that a quarantine officer can ask a Master to answer questions about (section 28 and regulation 18).
*Under the Quarantine Act 1908, waste is treated as a type of goods and may only be landed at a port that is proclaimed for the landing of waste.
Australia has very strict laws relating to the importation and/or possession of certain goods to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia. Therefore, it is recommended that vessels should consume as much provisions as possible prior to arriving in Australia.
Find out what goods can be brought into Australia by searching the AQIS Import Conditions database (ICON).
Note: Cargo remains subject to quarantine after it is landed and it must only be landed and moved in accordance with sections 44A and 44B the Quarantine Act 1908.
Overseas vessels that carry pets are considered high risk and therefore require increased surveillance whilst in Australian waters. Prior to arrival at an Australian first port of call, the Master must notify AQIS of the presence of animals onboard the vessel.
The inspecting quarantine officer will issue the Master/Owner with the 'Reporting Requirements for Animals on Vessels' form. This form sets out the general conditions for the keeping of animals onboard the vessel and may include additional conditions as invoked by the quarantine officer. The 'Master Declaration' section of the form must be completed by the vessel Master and signed by the quarantine officer.
The general conditions for vessels with animals onboard include the following:
- the vessel must be anchored at mid water mooring
- all animals onboard must be confined in a manner so as to prevent contact with persons or Australian domestic animals
- the animal must be confined below decks if the vessel is left unattended
- all animals waste must be disposed of in a manner approved by AQIS
- AQIS must be notified immediately if the animal becomes sick, dies or escapes whilst in Australia
- a quarantine officer will visit the vessel at each port of call in Australia, or on a regular basis if the vessel is remaining in the same port, to ensure that the conditions stated on the 'Reporting Requirements for Animals on Vessels' form are being met
- all subsequent movements around Australia must be reported to AQIS prior to departure and arrival
- if the animal is to remain permanently in Australia, contact the AQIS Live Animal Imports on +61 2 6272 4454 or by email to determine eligibility for import.
Since 2005, AQIS has been conducting a voluntary biofouling management regime for overseas vessels less than 25 metres in length arriving in Australia.
It is anticipated that the Australian Government will move towards mandatory risk-based biofouling management requirements for all overseas vessels arriving in Australia and that the requirements will remain consistent with AQIS's current recommended cleaning practices. These include:
- application of an effective anti-fouling coating suited to the operation of the vessel
- inspecting, and if necessary, cleaning your vessel including niche areas (including but not limited to internal seawater systems, sea chests, rudder stock and propeller shafts), anchors, chains and other ancillary gear immediately prior to arrival in Australia
- once inspected and cleaned at an overseas port, departing immediately and travelling directly to Australia to minimise re-contamination
- maintaining a voyage and biofouling maintenance log and other documentation that supports any biofouling mitigation activities undertaken.
Under the requirements, the focus will likely be on whether the operator's maintenance regime has been effective in minimising the biofouling accumulation on the vessel, to guard against the presence of quarantinable biofouling pests.
As such, in-water inspections of vessels to determine the level and nature of biofouling present will be a component of the requirements. This may be either as a pre-arrival preparatory action by the vessel owner/operator or an on-arrival inspection. AQIS is proposing that a list of appropriately qualified divers be available for vessel owners to perform these in-water inspections.
The biofouling section of the AQIS website will be updated when implementation of these requirements can be confirmed.
AQIS is the lead agency for the management of ballast water taken up overseas with the intention of discharge within an Australian port. Part of AQIS's charter is to ensure that foreign ballast water has been managed in accordance with the Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements before permitting its discharge inside Australia's territorial sea (12 nautical limit applies).
Australia's quarantine laws are designed to manage the risk associated with the introduction of exotic pests and diseases entering the Torres Strait, or spreading from the Strait to mainland Australia.
If you've visited or operated in the Torres Strait you must contact AQIS to arrange a vessel inspection—preferably at Thursday Island before you leave the Strait, or you can report to another AQIS office up to four days before you first make landfall on the mainland. You can contact AQIS via phone, email, VHF (channel 16) or through local harbour authorities.
If the vessel is being sailed, motored or towed into Australia, the vessel must obtain pratique clearance from the first port of entry (please refer to section 5 of this document).
Contact an AQIS regional office to arrange an inspection prior to the vessel's arrival.
To obtain information on duties and tax payable, contact the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Customs brokers in Australia and overseas will also be able to assist with the procedures on the importation of yachts. Please be advised there will be costs incurred for this service.
The Seaports Program is a cost recovered program that provides services to the shipping industry. Upon completion of inspections, the quarantine officer will issue the Master with a tax invoice which will need to be paid preferably by a credit card. In the event that a credit card is not available, cash payments can be made at an AQIS office.
Please note: Quarantine officers do not accept cash payments.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) manages the security and integrity of Australia's borders.
For further information on Customs requirements please contact:
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship maintains the Movement Alert List and enforces Australia's visa regime.
For further information on the Department of Immigration and Citizenships requirements please contact 131 881 or if you are outside Australia and wish to make an enquiry please contact your nearest Overseas Office website: www.immi.gov.au/sea/enquiries/
29 Sep 2011