17 May 2022
Who does this notice affect?
This notice is of interest to all vessel owners, operators, masters and shipping agents who represent international commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance.
What has changed?
New biofouling management requirements for vessel arrivals begin on 15 June 2022
The Biosecurity Amendment (Biofouling Management) Regulations 2021 (biofouling regulations) enters into force on 15 June 2022. This requires operators of all vessels to provide information on biofouling management practices prior to arriving in Australia.
The Australian biofouling management requirements provides details of Australia’s pre-arrival reporting requirements and guidance for operators of international vessels that are subject to biosecurity control while in Australian territorial seas. The Australian biofouling management requirements are now available at Managing biofouling in Australia.
Pre-arrival questions related to biofouling management practices will be mandatory
The department’s Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) pre-arrival report (PAR) will include mandatory questions relating to biofouling management practices.
The biofouling questions on the pre-arrival report will include:
- Does the vessel have an effective biofouling management plan?
- Has the vessel been cleaned of all biofouling within 30 days of arriving in Australia?
- Does the vessel have an alternative biofouling management method that has been pre-approved by the department?
- Do you intend to in-water (underwater) clean biofouling in Australia?
Vessel operators to demonstrate proactive biofouling management
Vessel operators can demonstrate proactive management of biofouling by implementing one of the 3 accepted proactive biofouling management options:
- Implementation of an effective biofouling management plan; or
- Cleaned all biofouling within 30 days prior to arriving in Australian territory; or
- Implementation of an alternative biofouling management method pre-approved by the department.
Documentary evidence must be available upon request by a departmental officer.
Vessel operators that cannot demonstrate implementation of proactive management practices will be asked additional pre-arrival questions. The department will use responses to inform assessments of the biosecurity risk associated with biofouling on vessels. The department may also conduct inspections of submerged hulls and niche areas to inform assessments of whether the vessels present an unacceptable biosecurity risk associated with biofouling.
Phased approach – Education first
The department will be taking an education first approach to enforcing the new requirements between 15 June 2022 and 15 December 2023. During this period the department will be focussing on providing education and advice to ship managers with the aim of minimising unintentionally incorrect pre-arrival reporting. The department will also be working with ship managers to improve the effectiveness of biofouling management plans.
Powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will continue to be used to manage unacceptable biosecurity risk associated with biofouling.
Information relating to the new policy for biofouling management requirements is available on
our website: Managing biofouling in Australia.