Vessels arriving at first points of entry or non-first points of entry

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, all international vessels and goods become subject to biosecurity control when they enter Australian territorial seas.

If your vessel is subject to biosecurity control, you can only enter Australia at ports that are first points of entry (FPOE). This is unless we have granted you permission under section 229 of the Biosecurity Act to enter a non-first point of entry. There may be conditions you still need to comply with to enter this type of port.

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

To find out more about biosecurity requirements for port operators, visit FPOE seaport operators.

FPOE for vessels

This map provides details of all the FPOEs for vessels.

See full list of FPOE

 
 
 

Changes to FPOE

There have been changes to the determinations of ports that may impact what classes of vessels and goods are permitted to arrive at an FPOE. It is the obligation of a vessel’s master, owner or agent to ensure the vessel complies with FPOE determinations. Please see the determination for each port for current permissions and biosecurity entry points.

General entry requirements

Your vessel can only enter an FPOE after you:

  1. submit mandatory pre-arrival reporting using the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS)
  2. receive Biosecurity Status Documents (BSDs) from us. These advise on the biosecurity, pratique and berthing conditions you must comply with.

See the other steps you need to take for your vessel type

 

FPOE Determinations

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

  • permissions for particular classes of vessel that may berth, or goods that may be unloaded at the port
  • biosecurity entry points (BEPs) within the port
  • any conditions associated with the port as a first point of entry.

See the determinations for existing FPOE seaports.

If you are the master, owner or agent of the vessel, you must ensure the goods onboard are able to be unloaded at your destination port. This is unless you have been granted permission under section 146 of the Biosecurity Act.

Read more about unloading goods at a non-first point of entry for those goods.

Biosecurity Entry Points (BEPs)

BEPs are designated areas within the port where specific classes of vessels must arrive or goods must be unloaded. This is so their biosecurity risks can be appropriately managed. These vessels and goods require additional infrastructure and procedures to manage the risks associated with their arrival.

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

If you wish to unload goods at a BEP which is not determined for that class of goods, you will need to request permission under Section 148 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. Find out more about how to apply for permission to unload goods at an alternative BEP.

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.

To arrive at one of these ports, you will need to apply and get permission to moor your vessel or unload goods at a non-first point of entry. You will also have to apply to moor or unload goods at an FPOE that is not determined for that particular class of vessel or goods.

The biosecurity risk of the classes of goods you wish to unload may not be able to be effectively managed at all FPOE or non-first points of entry. Given this, you will need to apply for permission for such goods to be unloaded at non-first points of entry or FPOE that are not determined for that class of goods. These applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed to be approved.

Some goods present a low biosecurity risk and wherever possible, we accommodate requests to unload these goods at non-first points of entry or FPOE which are not determined for such goods .

Some goods present a higher biosecurity risk and vessel operators/agents must be willing to provide further information and documentation to be assessed in these cases.

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Process map: Determining if non-first point of entry permission is required PDF 1 89 KB
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How to request permission to moor at a non-first point of entry

If you are an agent or master of a vessel intending to moor at a non-first point of entry, you must first apply 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.

To moor at a non-first point of entry, you 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).

How to request permission to unload imported  goods

If you are the master, owner or agent of the vessel, you must ensure that your goods can be unloaded at the port you intend to arrive at.
You must apply for permission for your goods to be unloaded under section 146 of the Act  if the intended port of arrival is either:

  • a non-first point of entry
  • an FPOE but not determined to unload that particular class of goods.
You 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 at a port that is an FPOE for those goods.

How to apply for permission to unload goods at an alternative BEP

Some berths within FPOEs do not have the appropriate facilities and procedures to manage the biosecurity risk of all types of goods.

If your goods are permitted at the port but you intend to unload your goods at a location that is not a BEP for that class of goods, you will need to apply for permission. We assess these applications on a case-by-case basis and we cannot guarantee we will approve these requests.

To apply for permission to unload goods at an alternative BEP, you must email us at nonfirstpoint@awe.gov.au.

You will need to include details of the vessel, a description and quantity of the goods, and any other relevant information. The request will also need to include the proposed date for unloading and contact details of the applicant.

Once all this information is provided, we will ascertain if the application can be supported.

Permission will only be given if biosecurity risks can be managed at the alternative BEP.

How to apply for permission for machinery or equipment to be unloaded

For machinery or equipment to be given permission to unload at a non-first point of entry or alternative BEP, further evidence will need to be provided as follows:

  • New and not field-tested declaration (NUFT) as per BICON – Machinery and equipment import conditions 
  • Bill of lading
  • Cargo manifest
  • Treatment certificates (eg. Fumigation certificate if coming from BMSB risk country)
  • Packing declaration – including treatment details of any wooden packaging used
  • Industry cargo inspection report
  • Industry vessel cleanliness inspection report
  • Documentation demonstrating how other biosecurity risks will be managed both offshore, onboard the vessel and onshore. A Biosecurity Risk Management Plan is required for large and complex machinery
  • Photographic evidence of the condition of the goods, how they were shipped, and the area onshore where they are proposed to be unloaded.

Offshore prior to shipment

You must demonstrate how the goods have been manufactured, transported, cleaned, treated, contained, etc. to ensure biosecurity risk is low.

Onboard the vessel

You must demonstrate how the goods have been contained, segregated from other goods, vessel cleanliness etc.

On arrival onshore

You must demonstrate:

  • What kind of surface the goods will be unloaded onto
  • How any potential risks will be contained
  • What processes are in place for removal of minor biosecurity risk material should it be detected on inspection
  • Facilities and agreements in place for collection of biosecurity waste generated from the inspections
  • Processes in place for moving the goods to a port with suitable cleaning facilities should it be required
  • Processes and agreements in place with an approved treatment provider should fumigation be required may also be demonstrated.

Templates

These templates may be useful for you to manage your biosecurity risk and assist us in assessing your application:

Permission will only be given if biosecurity risks can be managed at the non-first point of entry or alternative BEP.

If permission is not granted

If we do not grant your vessel permission to unload goods, you should consider alternative arrangements, such as:

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

If permission is not granted

If we do not grant your vessel permission to unload goods, you should consider alternative arrangements, such as:

  • biosecurity clearance of the goods at an FPOE or BEP determined for those goods, prior to moving them to the non-first point of entry
  • biosecurity bonding of the goods on board the vessel when the:
    • vessel will be returning overseas
    • final destination of the goods is an FPOE for those goods.
Last reviewed: 5 July 2021
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