(previously known as coastal strip or coastal status)
Pre-arrival reporting for arrival in Australian territory
All international vessels intending to arrive in Australia are required to submit pre-arrival reporting to the department prior to arrival for each voyage in Australian territory.
Commercial vessels must report using the Maritime and Aircraft Reporting System (MARS).
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, biosecurity officers will assess and manage biosecurity risk associated with conveyances and goods. The goods automatically become subject to biosecurity control once they enter Australian territory, which is generally when they pass through the 12NM limit.
To assist in preparing vessels for a release from biosecurity control, read and download the one-page Release from Biosecurity control checklist of biosecurity things to consider and prepare before arrival in Australian territory. This checklist is a quick reference guide, supported with the more detailed, text-based information on this webpage.
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
International vessels intending to stay in Australian waters for an extended period may seek a release from biosecurity control however the vessel may still be required to comply with relevant state or territory requirements.
Release from biosecurity control is granted after an inspection of the vessel has been completed and all biosecurity risks have been managed in an approved manner.
A domestic vessel that leaves Australia and/or interacts with an installation becomes an ‘exposed conveyance’ (exposed vessel) and is subject to biosecurity control when it returns to Australia in accordance with the Act, Section 193(1) (a) and (b) unless an exception can be met. For the purposes of the Act, exposure results from being in physical contact with, in close proximity to, or being contaminated by an installation.
For more information on vessels exposed to installations also see the Quick Reference Guide QRG06: Vessels Exposed to Installations.
Release from biosecurity control or exposure
Conveyances can be released from biosecurity control under Section 218 of the Act in the following ways:
- by notice to the person in charge by a biosecurity officer
- when a conveyance is destroyed
- by leaving Australian territory.
If a conveyance is exposed to an exposed conveyance and/or when it re-enters Australian territory, it can become subject to biosecurity control under Section 192 of the Act.
Requesting a release from biosecurity control
The vessel agent or master may submit a Release from biosecurity control Service Request through MARS to initiate the process. A service request can only be submitted in MARS if a port visit exits for that voyage. A port visit is created when a PAR or Non-First Point of Entry (NFP) application has been submitted using MARS.
Read the Release from biosecurity control Service Request Quick Reference Guide for a step-by-step guide on how to apply. The guide is available on the MARS communications and training materials webpage.
Release from biosecurity control inspections are completed at designated Australian first points of entry and subsequent ports. Refer to the map of Australian first points of entry from the Vessels webpage to learn about designated first points of entry requirements: Australia's first points of entry for vessels.
Vessels requiring a release from biosecurity control must take appropriate steps to ensure the vessel is prepared for the inspection. Masters and shipping agents should be aware of department requirements and ensure the master of the vessel is prepared for the biosecurity inspection.
To read about, and launch MARS, read the information on the: Vessels webpage.
How to prepare a vessel for a release from biosecurity control
- Commercial vessels must submit a PAR between 96-12 hours (and no less than 12 hours) prior to arrival in Australian territory
- Non-commercial vessels must report arrival using an online Pre-Arrival Report, between 90 days and 12 hours (and no less than 12 hours) prior to arrival in Australian territory. Refer to the Non-commercial vessel arrival biosecurity reporting – yachts and private superyachts webpage.
Shipping agents nominated by a vessel operator to manage arrival reporting must:
- Submit a release from biosecurity control Service Request using MARS.
- Biosecurity officers will arrange a suitable time for the inspection to take place.
- Advise the department of the date and time that biosecurity waste is to be collected and transported. All waste must be removed from the vessel to be released from biosecurity control.
- Arrange the management of biosecurity waste in accordance with department requirements. Waste must be collected, transported and disposed of by a waste provider under an Approved Arrangement with the department or under the supervision of a biosecurity officer.
- Make appropriate arrangements for goods that are identified by biosecurity officers as requiring treatment or destruction.
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning equipment and approved treatments to be conducted for removal of goods and cleaning of fridges, freezers, galley area, galley grinders and waste bins. Cleaning and disinfection can only occur after freezers have been completely emptied of organic material, defrosted, and the surfaces are at or near room temperature.
- Freezers, refrigerated compartments and other storage and preparation areas which may have contained fruit and vegetables should be disinfected with a 2% sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) solution.
- Freezers, refrigerated compartments and other storage areas that contained meats, poultry or food wastes (e.g. galley bins, galley grinders, galley chutes and deck waste bins) must be emptied and disinfected with a suitable dilution of Virkon®S disinfectant.
- Manage and prevent cross contamination between international and local provisions. The vessel stripping process must be completed prior to local provisioning.
Complying with department directions
Vessel operators and shipping agents should be aware of department requirements under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and ensure the master/operator of the vessel has completed all appropriate steps.
- The operator of the vessel is obligated to accurately report information in accordance with section 193 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. Information must be lodged in MARS no later than 12 hours, prior to arrival.
- Where the vessel operator uses a shipping agent, the agent is responsible for reporting and the lodgement of accurate and timely information into MARS. The agent must ensure that this information is a true and correct representation of the reports provided by the vessel operator, and that any changes have been confirmed with the operator.
- The operator must follow department directions including the conditions stated on the Biosecurity Status Documents (BSDs).
The biosecurity inspection
During the inspection any biosecurity risk material, including plants, foodstuffs, and waste must be managed/removed from the vessel and spaces treated in accordance with department requirements. The entire vessel will be inspected including all galleys and food storage areas, cabins, crew quarters, open deck areas, storage lockers and engine room.
A biosecurity officer will:
- Interview the master of the vessel to explain the purpose of the visit and the inspection procedure
- Verify information provided to the department is factual
- Confirm all documentation required for biosecurity clearance is available on board
- The vessel details will be verified against a copy of the Ship’s Particulars and other vessel documentation such as import permits, vessel schematics, and ballast water records.
- Confirm at inspection that the master has the opportunity to verbally declare anything that may have changed or that has been previously overlooked.
- Secure any relevant goods under a biosecurity control notice (on a case by case basis if required).
- Identify any food items that may be cross-contaminated for removal.
- Identify any treatments or removal of items from the vessel for goods infested with insects in accordance with department guidelines.
- Inspect dry provisions for infestation and hygiene standards.
- Record inspection results and finalise any outstanding actions to complete the inspection.
- There may be additional follow up inspection/s in subsequent ports.
Biosecurity officers must also be satisfied that all ballast water tanks have been appropriately managed to address any biosecurity risks. If the vessel is unable to meet any of these requirements, the vessel may not be released from biosecurity control. Refer to the Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements: Ballast water.
Types of biosecurity risk materials
Risk materials include but are not limited to:
- Potted plants, cut flowers and foliage and deck gardens
- Hitchhiker pests such as insects, rodents or birds
- Standing water
- Food containers such as hessian bags previously used to carry or store raw produce or meat such as fruit and vegetables, rice, grains, coffee beans, grains
- Waste (galley and cargo waste, including spilt food residuals)
- Fresh produce
- Foodstuffs, including dry stores (grains, rice, nuts or seeds), meat, poultry, dairy products and other animal products
- Items made from animal (hides, skins) or plant material (wooded or straw items)
- Untreated timber dunnage (timber used for packing cargo)
- Ballast water is managed in accordance with the Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements
- Any goods that are to be unloaded
- Sporting equipment.
Biosecurity risk foodstuffs
Foodstuffs include but are not limited to:
- Personal food items
- All dairy products such as fresh milk, ice cream, yoghurt, butter, and cheeses including packaging
- All poultry products and packaging fresh, cooked or frozen including packaging e.g. eggs and egg products noodles and mayonnaise containing greater than 10% egg
- All meat products and packaging including fresh, frozen, dried and cured (sheep, beef and pork etc)
- Raw nuts
- Fresh fruit and vegetables including packaging.
For additional information on the types of goods that can be brought into Australia and needs to be declared for inspection can be found at Declare It: Arriving in Australia – Declare it.
Ship’s pets or animals on board
Vessels cannot gain a release from biosecurity with a ship’s pet or animals on board.
For information on animals on vessels webpage, refer to the webpage: Animals on vessels.
Only some dogs and cats may be eligible for import as pets. Owners must apply for an import permit and meet all import conditions (including health certification) to be eligible, and generally require a mandatory period of quarantine in an Australian post entry quarantine facility. Planning to import animals to Australia, see Importing live animals and reproductive material.
Where to find information about specific goods import conditions
The department provides a range of online services and lodgement systems to help streamline document and reporting requirements for importers and vessel operators using MARS: Online services and systems .
The Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) is an online application that provides searchable information on conditions for goods allowed into Australia: Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
It is your responsibility to comply with the department’s import conditions when arriving or importing goods into Australian territory.