13 April 2022
Who does this notice affect?
This notice is of interest to:
- all vessel masters and shipping agents who represent international commercial and non-commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance
- airlines, aircraft operators and their contracted services (third parties)
What has changed?
Resumption of cruise vessels
In March 2020 the Australian Government banned the entry of large international cruise vessels into Australia under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to protect the Australian community from COVID-19.
Based on medical advice, the Australian Government will lift the ban on international cruise ships arriving at Australian ports. The current determination expires on 17 April 2022.
From 18 April 2022, international cruise vessel arriving in Australian territory are required to meet all Commonwealth, state, and territory health requirements within every jurisdiction.
Amendment to the negative pratique instrument
The Department of Health has amended the Biosecurity (Negative Pratique) Instrument 2016.
As per the Biosecurity (Negative Pratique) Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Instrument 2022, the operator of the aircraft or vessel must:
- satisfy an assessing officer (a biosecurity officer, chief human biosecurity officer or human biosecurity officer) that the level of human health risk associated with the aircraft or vessel is acceptable; and
- if requested, orally or in writing, by an assessing officer for the purpose of assessing or managing the level of human health risk associated with the aircraft or vessel:
- allow a thing mentioned in the request to be unloaded from or loaded onto the aircraft or vessel; or
- allow an assessing officer, or another person mentioned in the request, to disembark from or embark onto the aircraft or vessel
Cruise vessel reporting requirements
The operator of a cruise vessel is obligated to report information in accordance with section 193 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. A Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) must be lodged via the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS), 96-12 hours prior to arrival in Australia. Additionally, cruise vessels carrying live plants must also submit the live plants conveyance log form to the National Maritime Centre (NMC).
On submission of the PAR into MARS, the system will respond via email with interim additional health questions as required by the Department of Health. The responsible officer on the cruise vessel will complete the questions and return to the NMC via email. Additionally, any subsequent human health updates submitted in MARS will also require the interim additional health questions to be completed and returned to the NMC. The answers to these questions will help determine the human health risk associated with the vessel.
MARS will queue a Human Health Inspection for a biosecurity officer, regardless of human health risks being reported. The biosecurity officer will attend the vessel on arrival to complete the inspection. When the biosecurity officer is satisfied there are no human health issues on board, they will grant pratique. A new version of the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) will be issued with pratique granted. The cruise vessel can then start to disembark travellers.
The Biosecurity (Human Health) Regulation 2016 states that until pratique is granted, vessels subject to the negative pratique process, must continue to display the two flag Quarantine Signal (letters QQ in the International Code of Signals). During non-daylight hours a red light, not more than 2 metres above a white light, must be displayed and visible within 2NM in every direction.
View the Vessels webpages for information on Australia’s biosecurity reporting obligations and responsibilities.
More details about Vessel pratique are available on the department's website.
See the Department of Health website: www.health.gov.au for the latest key contact information, travel advice and the collection of factsheets for industry and the general public on COVID-19.