The department administers Ship Sanitation Certification (SSC) requirements on behalf of the Department of Health.
Ship Sanitation Certification (SSC) is aimed at controlling the spread of international listed human diseases by controlling any vectors of these diseases that could potentially be carried on a vessel.
This is achieved by inspecting for and controlling animal vectors (rodents and mosquitoes), preventing the discharge of untreated ballast water, checking certification of potable water and sewage, and biosecurity measures for human carriers of disease.
Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificates and Ship Sanitation Control Certificates are issued in accordance with Article 39 of the International Health Regulations (2005) Third Edition (IHR)
Ship sanitation certificates may also be required for all vessels on international voyages that call at an international State port, other than Australian port, that is a party to the IHR.
Certificates remain valid for a period of six months from the date of issue. This period may be extended by one month if the inspection or control measures required cannot be accomplished at the declared Australian port where the vessel is located when due for re-certification.
Australian renewal of a ship sanitation control exemption certificate may be requested by the master or agent of a vessel when submitting the Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) or by submitting a Ship Sanitation Certificate Service Request through the department's online portal for vessel management, the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS).
Ship sanitation inspections and issuing of subsequent certificates can only be issued at Australian ports that are declared by the Director of Human Biosecurity on behalf of the Department of Health. These declared ship sanitation points (ports) are:
|Australian State or Territory||Ports|
|New South Wales (NSW)||Newcastle|
|Port of Botany Bay|
|Queensland (QLD)||Abott Point|
|Western Australia (WA)||Albany|
|South Australia (SA)||Port Adelaide|
|Northern Territory (NT)||Darwin|
|Christmas Island||Christmas Island|
At the inspection, the current Sanitation Certificate needs to be sighted for validation by a department biosecurity officer, either a printed or electronic version.. The certificate must be issued by an appropriate authority in the country of origin, and regardless of the language of issue, must be identifiable as to what it certifies, and any specified conditions. Any vessel that arrives at a port without a valid certificate will be subject to additional SSC biosecurity conditions.
For all the designated First Points of Entry for vessel arriving in Australia, see the map of Australia's first points of entry for vessels. This map provides the details for the plants, animals and goods that may only be landed at each point (or ports) as well as the points that manage vessel sanitation certification.
A Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate is issued when, at the time of inspection, there are:
- no signs of rodent or mosquito vectors
- no vector reservoirs (risk of mosquitoes)
- no measures are required to control vectors
- relevant certification of vessel facilities are all in order.
A Ship Sanitation Control Certificate is issued when, at the time of inspection:
- there are signs or evidence of rodent or mosquito vectors or vector reservoirs
- there are subsequent measures applied to control them
- where relevant certification of Vessel facilities is invalid, out of date and/or out of order.
Australia uses a paperless system for the production of ship sanitation certification. Accordingly, Australia’s ship sanitation certificates reflect modern certification that is electronically issued without a signature, but with a unique identifier for authorisation.
The department’s online portal (MARS) issues the electronic Ship Sanitation Certificates.
International country Health Authorities can expect to be presented with the following form of the MARS issued Australian ship sanitation certification:
|SAMPLE ONLY electronically issued ship sanitation certificate from MARS - with digital signature and seal PDF||220 KB|
International country Health Authorities can verify the validity of an Australian Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate or a Ship Sanitation Control Certificate by contacting the department’s Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) and quoting the Certificate Number:
The department’s National Maritime Centre (NMC) provides national support.
All international vessels that are greater than 400 gross tonnes or are certified to carry more than 15 people are required to carry an International Sewage Pollution Prevention (ISPP) Certificate under the requirement of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex IV. The ISPP certificate certifies that the sewage systems on board an international ship are in compliance with MARPOL requirements.
*Definition of vector: an insect or other animal which normally transports an infectious agent that constitutes a public health risk (International Health Regulations).