Offshore installations

International vessels, aircraft, travellers and goods arriving at installations operating within or outside Australian territory represent possible pathways for exotic pests and diseases to enter Australia.

The department manages biosecurity control of all international arrivals into the Australian territory (within 12NM) including the management of offshore oil and gas installations.

Exposed conveyances legislation

The Biosecurity (Exposed Conveyances – Exceptions from Biosecurity Control) Determination 2016 (the Determination) gives effect to the department’s policy approach to offshore installations. The Determination is a legislative instrument made under section 196(2) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Act).

Overview

Offshore installations operating outside of Australian territory are not subject to biosecurity control. However, any conveyance (such as support vessels and aircraft) that leaves Australian territory and interacts with an offshore installation (physical contact or in close proximity) becomes an exposed conveyance and is subject to biosecurity requirements when returning to Australia. For example, vessels that move between the offshore installation and an Australian port as part of provisioning operations.

When returning to Australian territory, exposed conveyances become subject to biosecurity control and must undertake pre-arrival reporting and notify the department if it intends to unload goods.

Biosecurity risk assessment

In order for exposed conveyances to be assessed as low risk, the offshore installation must demonstrate that it meets the requirements set out in the Determination. 

Offshore installation projects must apply to the department have their biosecurity risk status assessed. Applications must be made at least one month prior to project commencement. The department will work with installation representatives to assess the biosecurity risk of the installation and associated support/supply conveyances (vessels and aircraft) that travel to and from the installation.

For more information, to notify the department of a project which may have conveyance interactions with Australian territory, or to discuss a biosecurity assessment, email seaportsprogram@awe.gov.au.

Once an offshore installation has demonstrated it meets biosecurity requirements:

  • exposed conveyances may be exempt from biosecurity control when returning to Australian territory.
  • exposed conveyances (vessels and aircraft) qualify for exemption from pre-arrival reporting, and notifications to unload goods under the Biosecurity Regulation 2016’.

There are many interactions outside Australian territory between conveyances and offshore installations. The department’s policy approach is that when these interactions occur, the biosecurity risk of the exposed conveyance is assessed. If the exposed conveyance’s biosecurity risk is assessed as low, it will not be subject to biosecurity control, when returning to Australian territory.

Conveyances exposed to an international conveyance, that cannot meet the requirements outlined in section 6(1) of the Determination, will remain subject to biosecurity control in Australian territory. When the biosecurity risk of an exposed conveyance is not low, it will be subject to biosecurity control and will be required to submit a pre-arrival report and notify any intent to unload goods for further assessment and management.

These conveyances must meet all obligations under the Act including those related to pre-arrival reporting, disinsection, notification to unload goods and physical inspection of the conveyance by biosecurity officers on arrival to Australian territory.

Detailed information on Australian biosecurity management requirements for vessels, equipment and infrastructure entering Australian waters (including vessels servicing these activities) can be found in the Offshore Installations Biosecurity Guide.

Pre-arrival Reporting

Pre-arrival reporting for installations is completed through MARS.

Other government regulators and consultation

Offshore installation operators should also consult with other Australian government agencies about an offshore project such as the:

  • National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) - Australia's independent regulator for health and safety, environmental management, structural and well integrity for offshore petroleum facilities and activities in Commonwealth waters.
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) – Promotion of the safety and protection of Australia’s marine environment and combat ship-sourced pollution and providing the infrastructure for safety of navigation in Australian waters, a national search and rescue service for the maritime and aviation sectors.
  • Department of the Environment and Energy - Designing and implementing Australian Government policy and programs to protect and conserve the environment, water and heritage, promote climate action, and provide adequate, reliable and affordable energy.
  • Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) - Managing the efficient management and sustainable use of Commonwealth fish resources on behalf of the Australian community.
Last reviewed: 5 March 2021
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