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First points of entry and non-first points of entry for vessels

​​​​Information for vessel operators

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, all international vessels and goods become subject to biosecurity control on entering Australian territory (12NM offshore).

Vessels subject to biosecurity control must only enter Australia at ports that have been determined as first points of entry (FPOE) under section 229 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, unless permission has been granted by the department to enter a non-first point of entry (under subsection 247(2) of the Act).

This ensures that vessels enter Australia at a location that has appropriate facilities and personnel to manage the biosecurity risks to an acceptable level.

FPOE for vessels

This map provides details of all the department’s FPOEs for vessels.

You can also view a text-only version of the ports.

General entry requirements

Vessels may only enter an FPOE after:

  1. submitting mandatory pre-arrival reporting using MARS
  2. receiving advice on biosecurity, pratique and berthing conditions from the department as Biosecurity Status Documents (BSDs).

For an overview of the biosecurity management process for commercial and non-commercial vessels to enter ports in Australia, please visit:

FPOE Determinations

International vessels must comply with the permissions and conditions contained on the FPOE determination. Each determination lists:

  • permissions for particular classes of vessels, animals, plants or goods that may be landed at the port
  • Biosecurity Entry Points (BEPs) within the port
  • any conditions associated with the port as a first point of entry.

Determinations for existing FPOE seaports may be accessed here.

The master, owner or agent of the vessel must ensure the goods they are importing are only landed at ports that are determined as FPOEs for those goods, unless permission has been granted under section 146 of the Biosecurity Act.

Further information about landing goods at a non-first point of entry for those goods can be accessed here.

Biosecurity Entry Points (BEPs)

BEPs are designated areas within the port where specific classes of vessels or goods must be landed.in order to appropriately manage their biosecurity risks. These goods require additional infrastructure and procedures to manage the risks associated with their arrival.

If a BEP has been designated on a first point of entry determination, all specified vessels or goods must arrive at, or be brought directly to the BEP on arrival into the port.

Non-First Points of Entry

Ports that do not have a determination under section 229 of the Biosecurity Act are classed as non-first points of entry. These ports have not been assessed against the FPOE Biosecurity Standards and may not have appropriate infrastructure or processes in place to manage biosecurity risks.

Permission to moor at a non-first point of entry

Agents or masters of vessels intending to moor at a non-first point of entry must first apply to the department for permission under subsection 247(2) of the Biosecurity Act. Agents or masters of vessels intending to visit non first points of entry ports as subsequent ports of call in their itinerary must also have subsection 247(3) permission for those visits.

Vessels wishing to moor at a non-first point of entry must submit an application using MARS at least 10 working days prior to arrival at the non-first point of entry.

Cruise and military vessels may submit their applications and itineraries earlier. Cruise vessels should also submit non-first point of entry applications to the Maritime Travellers Processing Committee (MTPC).

Permission to land imported animals, plants or other goods

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the master, owner or agent of the vessel must ensure that the port has a determination to land the particular class of animals, plants or other goods they intend to unload.

Under the Act, if the intended port of arrival is either:

  • a non-first point of entry
  • a FPOE but not determined to unload that particular class of animal, plant or goods

then the master, owner or agent of the vessel must apply for permission for the goods to be unloaded under subsection 146 (2) of the Act.

Vessels wishing to discharge goods under subsection 146 (2) of the Act must submit an application using MARS at least 10 working days prior to arrival. Failure to do so may result in the goods either being held on board the vessel or moved to an approved arrangement site.

In the event that permission cannot be granted, the master, owner or agent of the vessel should consider alternative arrangements, such as:

  • biosecurity clearance of the goods at an FPOE for those goods, prior to moving them to the non-first point of entry
  • biosecurity bonding of the goods on board the vessel in circumstances where:
    • the vessel will be returning overseas
    • the final destination of the goods is an FPOE for those goods.

Information for port operators

When the Biosecurity Act commenced in June 2016, existing ports were issued temporary determinations allowing them to continue to operate as FPOEs. These determinations will expire in June 2019.

Operators at FPOEs who wish to maintain their status and continue regular international operations beyond June 2019 must demonstrate that they can meet the new standards.

Port authorities and operators at existing FPOEs do not need to apply to the department for a new determination after the transitional determinations expire.

The department is in the process of assessing whether existing first points of entry are compliant with the standards and will engage individually with entities operating within each port regarding assessment outcomes and required remedial action by the end of 2017.

How to be determined an FPOE

FPOE Determinations are made for a geographical area or place. Because many entities operate within a port location, managing biosecurity risk is a shared responsibility.

Before a port can be determined as an FPOE, the department must first assess its general eligibility based on the biosecurity risks posed by the port’s operations.

Once the department has determined that the risks can be acceptably managed, all operators facilitating international arrivals at the port must be assessed to ensure they comply with regulatory standards.

The department is in the process of building self-assessment tools that port authorities and operators can use to gauge their current level of compliance with the standards. These tools will be available on this page in 2018.

Ports wishing to gain determination as an FPOE should email the department at Biosecurity First Points.

FPOE Biosecurity Standards

Before a port can be determined as an FPOE, it must also meet the requirements in section 58 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. The FPOE Biosecurity Standards describe what operators within first points of entry need to do to meet these regulatory requirements.

All entities operating at an FPOE are responsible for meeting the standards relevant to their part of the port’s operations. These entities include port authorities, third-party operators leasing berth space, stevedores, shipping lines and other logistical agents.

The standards ensure all operators facilitating international arrivals at the port have the procedures and infrastructure in place to:

  • manage the biosecurity risks associated with arriving vessels, travellers and cargo
  • respond to and report biosecurity or human biosecurity incidents
  • manage biosecurity waste appropriately
  • support biosecurity officers to safely and effectively assess, inspect and treat goods under biosecurity control
  • manage the environment around the port of entry to reduce its receptivity to pests and diseases of biosecurity concern.

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First point of entry biosecurity standards (ports) 

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First point of entry biosecurity standards (ports)​

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If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Biosecurity awareness package for FPOE staff

Under Biosecurity Regulation 58(4)(a)&(b), all staff who are involved with facilitating international arrivals must be aware of the biosecurity risks posed by their operations and know how to report them.

We have developed a draft biosecurity awareness package to help FPOE operators meet these obligations. 

We are seeking feedback on this resource now. In particular, we’d like to know:

  • Did you understand the information presented?
  • Were there any topics you were expecting that weren’t covered?
  • Do you feel like you understand the biosecurity risks present at seaports and how to respond to them as the result of watching this package?
  • Is an online presentation okay, or is there a different way you would prefer to receive this information?

Please email any feedback to Biosecurity First Points by 24 November 2017.

Changes and variations to FPOEs

Port authorities and first point operators are legally required to inform the department of material changes to their operations, facilities or processes. Examples include:

  • a change to the availability or condition of relevant facilities or infrastructure at the port (such as a container lift)
  • the addition of new berths or operators within the port environment
  • a significant increase in cruise traveler numbers
  • a change to operations (such as commencing import of goods or vessels with specified standards).

Notifications can be made to the department at Biosecurity First Points.

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