First points of entry and non-first points of entry for vessels
Information for vessel operators
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, all international vessels and goods become subject to biosecurity control on entering Australian territorial seas.
Vessels subject to biosecurity control must only enter Australia at ports that have been determined as first points of entry (FPOE) under section 229 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, unless permission has been granted by the department to enter a non-first point of entry (under subsection 247(2) of the Act).
This ensures that vessels enter Australia at a location that has appropriate facilities and personnel to manage the biosecurity risks to an acceptable level.
FPOE for vessels
This map provides details of all the department’s FPOEs for vessels.
Please be aware that there have been changes to the determination 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. Links to determinations are provided in the map above and in a text-only version of the ports.
General entry requirements
Vessels may only enter an FPOE after:
- submitting mandatory pre-arrival reporting using the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System MARS
- receiving advice on biosecurity, pratique and berthing conditions from the department as Biosecurity Status Documents (BSDs).
For an overview of the biosecurity management process for commercial and non-commercial vessels to enter ports in Australia, please visit:
International vessels must comply with the permissions and conditions contained on the FPOE determination. Each determination lists:
- permissions for particular classes of vessels or goods that may be landed at the port
- Biosecurity Entry Points (BEPs) within the port
- any conditions associated with the port as a first point of entry.
Determinations for existing FPOE seaports are available on the Federal Register of Legislation.
The master, owner or agent of the vessel must ensure the goods that are onboard are only landed at ports that are determined as FPOEs for those goods, unless permission has been granted under section 146 of the Biosecurity Act.
Further information about landing 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 or goods must be landed in order to appropriately manage their biosecurity risks. These goods require additional infrastructure and procedures to manage the risks associated with their arrival.
If a BEP has been designated on a first point of entry determination, all specified vessels or goods must arrive at, or be brought directly to the BEP on arrival into the port.
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.
Permission to moor at a non-first point of entry
Agents or masters of vessels intending to moor at a non-first point of entry must first apply to the department 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.
Vessels wishing to moor at a non-first point of entry 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).
Permission to land imported animals, plants or other goods
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the master, owner or agent of the vessel must ensure that the port has a determination to land the particular class of animals, plants or other goods they intend to unload.
Under the Act, if the intended port of arrival is either:
- a non-first point of entry
- a FPOE but not determined to unload that particular class of animal, plant or goods
then the master, owner or agent of the vessel must apply for permission for the goods to be unloaded under subsection 146 (2) of the Act.
Vessels wishing to discharge goods under subsection 146 (2) of the Act 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.
In the event that permission cannot be granted, the master, owner or agent of the vessel should consider alternative arrangements, such as:
- biosecurity clearance of the goods at an FPOE for those goods, prior to moving them to the non-first point of entry
- biosecurity bonding of the goods on board the vessel in circumstances where:
- the vessel will be returning overseas
- the final destination of the goods is an FPOE for those goods.
Information for port operators
When the Biosecurity Act commenced in June 2016, existing ports were issued temporary determinations allowing them to continue to operate as FPOE. These determinations expired on 15 June 2019.
Ongoing determinations were made for ports where all operators demonstrated full compliance with FPOE regulatory requirements.
Extensions to temporary determinations were granted to certain ports that were unable to meet regulatory requirements within the required timeframe. The department is engaging with relevant operators at these ports and ongoing determinations are being made for ports that achieve compliance with the regulatory requirements.
The determinations for the ports of Carnarvon, Exmouth, Port Huon, Spring Bay and Stanley lapsed on 16 June 2019. The determination for the Port of Lord Howe Island lapsed on 16 June 2020. These ports are no longer recognised as FPOE.
Determinations for current FPOE seaports are available on the Federal Register of Legislation.
How to be determined an FPOE
FPOE Determinations are made for a geographical area or place. Because many entities operate within a port location, managing biosecurity risk is a shared responsibility.
Before a port can be determined as an FPOE, the department must first assess its general eligibility based on the biosecurity risks posed by the port’s operations.
Once the department has determined that the risks can be acceptably managed, all operators facilitating international arrivals at the port must be assessed to ensure they comply with regulatory standards.
Ports wishing to gain determination as an FPOE should email the department at Biosecurity First Points.
FPOE Biosecurity Standards
Before a port can be determined as an FPOE, it must also meet the requirements in section 58 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. The FPOE Biosecurity Standards describe what operators within first points of entry need to do to meet these regulatory requirements.
All entities operating at an FPOE are responsible for meeting the standards relevant to their part of the port’s operations. These entities include port authorities, third-party operators leasing berth space, stevedores, shipping lines and other logistical agents.
The standards ensure all operators facilitating international arrivals at the port have the procedures and infrastructure in place to:
- manage the biosecurity risks associated with arriving vessels, travellers and cargo
- respond to and report biosecurity or human biosecurity incidents
- manage biosecurity waste appropriately
- support biosecurity officers to safely and effectively assess, inspect and treat goods under biosecurity control
- manage the environment around the port of entry to reduce its receptivity to pests and diseases of biosecurity concern.
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
Biosecurity awareness package for FPOE staff
Under Biosecurity Regulation 58(4)(a)&(b), all staff who are involved with facilitating international arrivals must be aware of the biosecurity risks posed by their operations and know how to report them.
We have developed a biosecurity awareness package to help FPOE operators meet these obligations. The package provides information about common and emerging biosecurity risks that you may see in a port environment. It also describes how you can work with us to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia.All staff working with international arrivals at first points of entry must complete the awareness package to achieve compliance with regulatory requirements.
Changes and variations to FPOEs
Port authorities and first point operators are legally required to inform the department of material changes to their operations, facilities or processes. Examples include:
- a change to the availability or condition of relevant facilities or infrastructure at the port (such as a container lift)
- the addition of new berths or operators within the port environment
- a significant increase in cruise traveller numbers
- a change to operations (such as commencing import of goods or vessels with specified standards).
Notifications can be made to the department at Biosecurity First Points.