The International Health Regulations 2005 defines pratique as “permission for a ship to enter a port, embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; permission for an aircraft, after landing, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; and permission for a ground transport vehicle, upon arrival, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores”. This is to ensure risks to human health can be identified and managed before the vessel or aircraft is unloaded or disembarked.
All vessels arriving in Australia from outside of Australia, must provide the department with a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR). The PAR provides the department with the information it requires to perform a biosecurity risk assessment of the vessel prior to its arrival, including an assessment of human health.
A vessel will be subject to either positive or negative pratique when entering Australian Territory. The type of vessel and the information provided in the PAR will determine the process used.
Commercial vessels (other than cruise vessels) are subject to the positive pratique process. Pratique is granted automatically on arrival where there are no human health issues.
If there is illness or death on-board, or if a pre-arrival report has not been provided, the vessel will be subject to the negative pratique process and pratique is only granted after a biosecurity officer has assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.
Non-commercial vessels and cruise vessels are subject to the negative pratique process and will not be granted pratique until a biosecurity officer has assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.
The assessment by a biosecurity officer should occur at a declared first point of entry that is the vessel’s first port of arrival into Australia.
Until a vessel has been granted pratique, the vessel does not have approval to embark or disembark travellers (all passengers and crew), discharge or load waste or cargo and must not interact with any other vessel. Access to the vessel is restricted to personnel who are authorised under the Biosecurity Act 2015 or another Australian law.
Vessel pratique frequently asked questions
While pratique may be granted for the vessel itself, the cargo or goods may continue to be subject to biosecurity control. The submission of additional documentation or inspection by a biosecurity officer may be required.
Yes. All overseas vessels must obtain pratique automatically, or manually from a biosecurity officer, at arrival at the first Australian port of call. Pratique is granted for all subsequent ports on the vessel’s voyage while in Australian waters. The granting of pratique is based on the pre-arrival information submitted by the vessel master and/or shipping agent via the Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) in the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS). A risk assessment is then performed by a Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment biosecurity officer to determine whether pratique can be granted or if some actions are required first.The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment may place restrictions on crew or cargo movement off the vessel or give directions for the movement of the vessel. Human health risks must be managed in order for pratique to be granted.
A vessel may be granted pratique on arrival in Australian waters once they have passed the 12NM limit. Where human health risks have been identified pratique may also be granted after assessment by a biosecurity officer.
Ship Sanitation Certificates are issued for vessel facility sanitation and are valid for six (6) months. Ship sanitation inspections can be performed during a pratique inspection where the current certificate is due to expire or when a sanitation inspection has been requested. The request may be submitted via the PAR, through the Request a Service tab in MARS or via email to the local port.
Each port specified under Biosecurity (Ship Sanitation Certification Scheme – Ports) Declaration 2016, is a port at which a vessel may be inspected for the purposes of the ship sanitation certification scheme.A Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate will be issued by a biosecurity officer when, at the time of the inspection, no measures are required to control vectors and/or reservoirs; or relevant certification of vessel facilities is invalid, out of date and/or out of order.
No. Pratique may only be issued to overseas vessels that are at or about to arrive at the first Australian port of entry. For commercial vessels, the vessel master or shipping agent is required to submit a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) 96-12 hours before the estimated time of arrival at an Australian port. For non-commercial vessels, the vessel master is required to submit a PAR between 90 days and 12 hours before the estimated time of arrival at an Australian port. This will enable the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to undertake a risk assessment to inform the issuance of pratique.If conditions change after the submission of a PAR and the National Maritime Centre (NMC) have issued a Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) with the Approval to Berth (ATB), the vessel master must notify the port of entry or the National Maritime Centre (NMC) as this may change the requirements for pratique.
No. Pratique is only granted to overseas vessels arriving at Australian ports, or Cocos Islands or Christmas Island ports.
Pratique inspections may occur outside standard hours. Vessel masters and/or shipping agents may negotiate inspection times with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment biosecurity officers in each state and territory.
The majority of vessel inspections take place at berths where officers have safe access to embark and disembark from the vessel. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment may, on occasions, undertake anchorage vessel inspections based on a case-by-case assessment.