Animals on vessels

Live animals onboard vessels may introduce serious diseases to Australia such as African swine fever, screw worm fly, rabies, Newcastle disease, and foot and mouth disease, and therefore pose a risk to the health of Australian animals, people and environment. Animals include cats, dogs, fish, birds, ruminants, pigs, rodents and reptiles.

Animals onboard vessels that are imported to Australian territory must meet the conditions set by the department for that species. An animal is considered to have been imported to Australia once the animal is within 12 nautical miles of Australian territory. Not all species are eligible for import to Australia.  

[expand all]

Non-commercial vessels

Prior to arrival at your first port of call in Australia, the vessel master must notify the department of the presence of animals onboard.

Dogs and cats

If you wish to import your cat or dog to Australia, you must prepare your animal to meet the relevant import conditions, which includes travel directly to Melbourne International Airport as manifest air cargo. You can find more information in our step-by-step guides for importing cats and dogs to Australia.

For all other enquiries contact Live Animal Imports, at least 4 weeks in advance of intended arrival.

Other pets

Other species of pets arriving in Australian ports or transiting within Australian waters onboard a non-commercial vessel such as a yacht, without a valid import permit, are not permitted. These species that arrive in Australian territory without a valid import permit will be treated as illegally imported animals.

Commercial vessels

Where commercial vessels arrive in Australian ports or are transiting within Australian waters with live animals onboard, conditions will be imposed to manage the biosecurity risk.

A ship's pet may be any type of animal except for ruminants (such as goats and cattle), fowl (including chickens and pigeons) or rodents of any kind. If the ship’s pet is a ruminant, fowl or rodent, it will not be permitted into Australian territory.

Prior to arrival at your first port of call in Australia, the master of the vessel must notify the department of the presence of animals onboard.

We require that all animals are confined and controlled at all times while the vessel is in Australian ports or waters. The control and confinement of the animal is most important during cyclonic conditions or other emergency situations, or in other circumstances that we advise, such as when the vessel is left unattended.

All animal waste must be disposed of in a department-approved manner. These arrangements may change on a port-by-port basis, therefore you are advised to check with the local port biosecurity officer.

Fees will apply for the attendance of biosecurity officers, inspection and disposal of animal waste. See fee for service charges.

Accidentally imported animals (stowaways)

Stowaway animals (e.g. hitchhiking birds that have landed on a vessel due to exhaustion) will be managed by the biosecurity officer under a different protocol to illegally-imported animals.

Prior to arrival at your first port of call in Australia, the master of the vessel must notify the department of the presence of animals onboard.

Last reviewed: 28 July 2021
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip