The International Health Regulations 2005 defines pratique as “permission for a ship to enter a port, embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; permission for an aircraft, after landing, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; and permission for a ground transport vehicle, upon arrival, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores”. This is to ensure risks to human health can be identified and managed before the vessel or aircraft is unloaded or disembarked.
All vessels arriving in Australia from outside of Australia, must provide the department with a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR). The PAR provides the department with specific information to perform a biosecurity risk assessment of the vessel prior to arrival, including an assessment of human health.
A vessel will be subject to either positive or negative pratique when entering Australian territorial waters, 12 nautical miles (nm) from the Australian coastline. The type of vessel and the information provided in the PAR will determine the pratique process used. Vessels moored at anchorage outside of Australian territory (12nm) are outside the jurisdiction of the Biosecurity Act 2015 except for Pre-Arrival reporting requirements. Vessel pratique does not affect a vessels permission to berth in Australia. Once pratique has been granted, it can not be revoked.
Commercial vessels (other than cruise vessels) are subject to the positive pratique process if no Illness has been reported prior to arrival in Australian territory. The submission of a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) is required 96-12 hours before the estimated arrival at an Australian port. Pratique is automatically granted, by operation of s 48(2) of the Act via the Maritime and Aircraft Reporting System (MARS) on arrival, where there are no human health issues reported. At the boundary of the Port Precinct the vessel will have approval as per the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) to discharge or load cargo and embark or disembark travellers (all passengers and crew).
If there is illness or death on-board, or if a pre-arrival report has not been provided, at the time of arrival at the port precinct, the vessel will be subject to the negative pratique process and pratique will not be granted until a biosecurity officer has assessed the human health risks associated with the vessel.
If a vessel reports no illness on a PAR prior to the vessel entering Australian Territory and then indicates illness on a human health update, the vessel will become subject to the negative pratique process. This will be advised on the subsequent version of the BSD. Pratique will not be granted until a biosecurity officer has assessed the human health risks associated with the vessel.
Non-commercial vessels and cruise vessels are subject to the negative pratique process and will not be granted pratique until a biosecurity officer has assessed the human health risks associated with the vessel at its first port of entry. For non-commercial vessels, the submission of a PAR is required between 90 days and 12 hours before the estimated time of arrival at an Australian port. For cruise vessels, the submission of a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) is required 96-12 hours before the estimated arrival at an Australian port.
Assessment by a biosecurity officer should occur at a declared first point of entry that is the vessel’s first port of arrival into Australia.
Vessel Tracking and granting of pratique
Active Vessel Monitoring (AVM) is a departmental web portal that tracks vessels and interacts with the MARS database to display information relevant to biosecurity risks a vessel may pose. This includes human health, insects and animals on board.
AVM allows biosecurity officers to view locations of vessels for monitoring biosecurity risks on a single screen. Vessel location is displayed based on location data received from Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Australian Border Force (ABF) and Marine Traffic, utilising a vessels Automatic Identification System (AIS).
For vessels subject to the positive pratique process, once AVM calculates a vessel is 12 Nautical Miles from the Australian coastline, it will arrive the vessel in MARS. A BSD will be issued to the vessel via MARS indicating the granting of pratique.
Where a vessel is travelling through Australian territorial waters, which is not located near a declared First Point of Entry, these vessels will not be granted pratique. Some of these locations include the Torres Strait and the Great Australian Bight.
Vessel operators are required to keep their Automatic Identification System (AIS) on to transmit Position Reports in accordance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974 Chapter 5, Regulation 19.2.4.
Vessel operators must report any malfunction of the vessel’s AIS equipment to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Australia in accordance with Section 186 of the Navigation Act 2012.
- Marine Order 63 (Navigation Act 2012) makes the provision of Position Reports mandatory for:foreign vessels from the arrival at its first port in Australia until its departure from its final port in Australia; and
- all regulated Australian vessels whilst in the Modernised Australian Ship Tracking and Reporting System (MASTREP) area.
If Pratique has not been granted please use the Vessel Contacts page to contact the department.
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Vessel berthing conditions in Australian Ports are provided on the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) after meeting reporting requirements. Vessel pratique does not affect a vessels permission to berth in Australia.
A vessel subject to the positive pratique process by virtue of the Act will have permission to embark or disembark travellers (all passengers and crew), discharge or load waste or cargo.
A vessel subject to the negative pratique process by virtue of the Act does not have permission to embark or disembark travellers (all passengers and crew), discharge or load waste or cargo. Access to the vessel is restricted to personnel who are authorised under the Biosecurity Act 2015 or another Australian law until pratique has been granted by a biosecurity officer.
If vessels intends to enter an Australian territory and requires people to disembark the vessel to an Australian territory outside the 12nm range, they are required to submit a Crew Change application or report through the PAR in MARS prior to crew disembarkation. There are no restrictions for crew to join a vessel. The reporting requirement is not required for Pilots of vessels. Pilots can embark and disembark under the Navigation Act 2012.
Vessel operators should be aware that the potential transfer of cargo onto an onshore supply vessel outside the 12nm range could result in the onshore supply vessel being considered as an exposed conveyance and subject to Biosecurity control. Vessel Operators or Shipping Agents need to contact the Seaports team for further advice.
While pratique has been granted for the vessel, the cargo and some persons or goods may continue to be subject to biosecurity control. The submission of additional documentation or inspection by a biosecurity officer may be required.
The following documents provide further information and a visual guide of the pratique process across non-commercial and commercial vessels, including cruise vessels.
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