122-2020 – Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) Pre-Arrival Reporting Changes for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

28 July 2020

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to all vessel masters and shipping agents who represent international commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance.

What has changed?

From 29 July 2020, and in response to the worldwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) have revised the pre-arrival human health questions for all vessels arriving in Australia.

This is part of the Australian Government’s efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the continued safe operation of the shipping industry.

  • New mandatory COVID-19 symptom questions have been added to the pre-arrival reporting process in the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS).
  • Depending on the answers to these questions, further information may be requested, with responses by masters or shipping agents required within three hours. Timely responses are needed to ensure that human health assessments do not unnecessarily delay the arrival of vessels.

Please note: Pratique may not be granted until all health question responses are received and assessed by the department.

What do you need to do?

Complete the PAR in MARS as per usual. Additional questions will be sent to the vessel and agent and coordinated by the department’s Maritime National Coordination Centre.

Who to contact for PAR and human health reporting?

The Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) is based in Adelaide, South Australia.

Phone: 1300 004 605 (in Australia) or +61 8 8201 6185 (outside Australia), fax 1300 005 882 or email maritimencc@awe.gov.au

MNCC operating hours are:

  • Monday to Friday 07:00 - 19:00 (06:30 - 18:30 Adelaide time) AEST.
  • Saturday to Sunday 09:00 - 17:00 (08:30 - 16:30 Adelaide time) AEST.

Emergency only on-call phone assistance after MNCC operating hours is available as listed on the Vessel Contacts page.

Vessel reporting requirements and the Biosecurity Act 2015

Under Section 193 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, the master or representative must provide information to allow the department to fully assess the biosecurity risk of the vessel.

Vessel masters and shipping agents are reminded:

  • We are all working together to keep our agriculture industries strong and safeguard Australia’s environment and heritage during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • To read and understand the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) directions and conditions, and keep a copy of the current document on board the vessel for the duration of the voyage in Australia.
  • Any changes in circumstances during the voyage in Australian waters, particularly changes to the human health of crew on board, must be submitted via MARS or reported to the MNCC as soon as practicable.
  • A failure to report accurately or comply with a requirement under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may result in penalties, including infringement notices, civil penalties or criminal prosecutions.
  • Providing false or misleading information to a Commonwealth entity is a serious offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Further information

Information and MARS supporting materials can be found on the department’s website under Vessels.​​

See the Department of Health website: www.health.gov.au for the latest key contact information, travel advice and the collection of factsheets for industry and the general public (Resources) on COVID-19.

Last reviewed: 28 July 2020
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