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Pre Arrival:  Docs | ISPS
Arrival:  Pilots | DS Pilots
Communications:  Pratique | Pre-Arrival | VTS/Radar
Cargo:  Handling
Pollution:  Ballast | Pollution
Security:  Emergency | Security
Local Info:  Time | Holidays
Shore:  Customs
Report:  Report
General Information for Australia
Geo-political:
Capital City: Canberra.
Nationality: (noun) Australian, (adjective) Australian.
Population: 21,262,641.
Communications:
International Direct Dial Code: 61.
Number of Internal Airports: 325.
Major Languages Spoken: English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census).
Economy:
Currency: 1 Australian Dollar (AUD) of 100 Cents.
Exchange Rates:  (as of February 2018)
USD 1.00 = AUD 1.28
AUD 1.00 = USD 0.78
Exchange rates under licence from XE.com
Main Industries: Mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals and steel.
Environment:
Territorial Sea: 12 n.m.
Other Maritime Claims: Contiguous Zone: 24 n.m. Continental Shelf: 200 n.m. or to the edge of the continental margin. Exclusive Economic Zone: 200 n.m.
Coastline Extent: 25,760 km.
Climate: Generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north.
Natural Resources: Bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas and petroleum.
Natural Hazards: Cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires.
Terrain: Mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast.
Average Temperatures: 
Month High Low
January 28° C 13° C
June 11° C 1° C
September 17° C 3° C
DOCUMENTS:  Customs Procedures:  First port arrivals, vessel's Master or owner is required to provide Department of Immigration and Border Protection - Australian Border Force (ABF) with a notice of the ship's impending arrival. An impending arrival report can be made by document or sent electronically. The impending arrival report must include the estimated date of arrival of the ship at the first Australian port or any subsequent port that the ship intends to visit.
Ships carrying cargo must communicate the impending arrival report, actual arrival report and cargo reports to ABF electronically. All goods intended to be unloaded from the ship or remaining on board must be reported.
Ships not carrying cargo may report information manually or electronically to ABF.
Shipping representatives or Agents in Australia can also assist with how to meet electronic reporting obligations determined by ABF legislation.
The following forms should be lodged with ABF, via Agent, 96 hours (unless advised below) before vessel’s arrival. It is recommended that forms are submitted to Agent as soon as possible, but no later than 5 days before arrival:
1 Crew Report (Australian Customs Form 3B)
1 Passenger Report (Australian Customs Forms 2A and 2B)
1 Ship’s Particulars
1 Ship Pre-Arrival Report (Australian Customs Form 13)
To be presented to Customs on arrival:
1 Crew Effects Declaration (Australian Customs Form 5 Part 2)
1 Crew Report (Australian Customs Form 3B)
1 Ports of Call list
1 Ship Pre-Arrival Report (Australian Customs Form 13)
1 Passenger Report (Australian Customs Forms 2A and 2B)
1 Stores List (Australian Customs Form 5 Part 4)
Forms are available to download at:
Penalties for non-compliance with Australia's border legislation can be severe. If there are any doubts whether goods on board require a permit or special conditions, vessel is advised to contact the Customs Information and Support Centre. www.border.gov.au
First Port Arrivals:  The Master or owner of a ship arriving in Australia is required to provide customs with a notice of the ship's impending arrival. An impending arrival report can be made by document or sent electronically. The impending arrival report must include the estimated date of arrival of the ship at the first Australian port or any subsequent port that the ship intends to visit.
Pre-Arrival Vessel and Crew/Passenger Reporting:  Ship Pre-Arrival Report: Under Section 64 of the Customs Act 1901, the operator (shipping line or Master) is required to report to customs the impending arrival of the ship a minimum of 96 hrs. prior to vessel′s estimated arrival. This is to be notified using the Customs Form 13 – Ship Pre-Arrival Report. Customs requires this information to complete an appropriate risk assessment of all vessels arriving in Australia. This information is also passed to customs partner agencies to allow for further risk assessment and compliance with other Commonwealth requirements.
If the journey, from a place outside Australia, is likely to take less than 96 hrs., then the timetable below is to be used, based on the estimated steaming time from the previous foreign port.
Reporting Periods, Voyage less than 96 hrs.  
Item Likely Duration Reporting Period
1 72–96 hrs. 72 hrs.  
2 48–72 hrs. 48 hrs.  
3 24–48 hrs. 24 hrs.  
4 <24 hrs. 12 hrs.  
At this time the ship must also report its arrival through the Customs Integrated Cargo System (ICS). For further ICS information www.customs.gov.au
In relation to this reporting requirement, the following should be noted:
Report is mandatory for all first port vessels.
Customs will not normally require this report to be made at subsequent (i.e. intermediate) ports in Australia. However, this may be required from time to time at the discretion of the local customs office.
This report is to be made to the local customs office at the port where the vessel intends to arrive and may be provided: by hand, fax or email. Shipping representatives or Agents in Australia can also assist on how to meet electronic reporting obligations determined by customs legislation.
Under S.64ACE of the Act, a report is only taken to have been communicated to customs when it is received by customs.
Penalty provisions do apply for failure to comply with the reporting requirement under S.64 of the Act.
Agents can assist customs boarding officers to attend a vessel promptly by keeping their local customs office advised of changes to the vessel's ETA. Customs Form 3B - Crew Report.
Under Section 64ACB of the Customs Act 1901, the operator (shipping line or Master) shall communicate to customs a report of all crew who will be on board the ship at the time of its arrival at port. This report is required a minimum of 96 hrs. prior to arrival, or where the journey is expected to take less than 96 hrs., then the same timetable as listed above. This is to be notified using the approved Customs Form 3B – Crew Report. Customs requires this information to complete an appropriate risk assessment of all vessels arriving in Australia. This information is also passed to customs partner agencies to allow for further risk assessment and compliance with other Commonwealth requirements.
Where customs conduct their pre-arrival checks and determine that there are reported crew that do not appear to have an appropriate visa, this information will be reported back to the Agent. This information will also be forwarded to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for their consideration. As crew would normally still be outside Australia at this stage, the opportunity exists for Agents to re-check crew bio-data if they believe the crew members do in fact have visas, or possibly arrange for a visa application to be made. Where bio-data may be found to have been in error the Form 3B can be resubmitted to customs with corrected data.
In relation to this reporting requirement, the following should be noted:
This report is mandatory for all first port vessels.
Customs will not normally require this report to be made at subsequent (i.e. intermediate) ports in Australia. However, this may be required from time to time at the discretion of the local customs office.
This report is to be made to the local customs office at the port where the vessel intends to arrive and may be provided by hand, fax or email. However, the local customs office will require a signed original form after the vessel has arrived. For relevant customs contact details please see your local customs office. Under S.64ACE of the Act a report is only taken to have been communicated to customs when it is received by customs.
Penalty provisions do apply for failure to comply with the reporting requirement under S.64ACD of the Act.
Customs Form 2A & 2B – Passenger Report:
Under Section 64ACA of the Customs Act 1901, the operator (shipping line or Master) shall communicate to customs a report of all passengers who will be on board the ship at the time of its arrival at port. This report is required a minimum of 96 hrs. prior to arrival at the port, or where the journey is expected to take less than 96 hrs., then the same timetable used for vessel reporting applies. This is to be notified using two approved customs forms 2A – Passenger Report (Face Sheet) and 2B – Passenger Report. Customs requires this information to complete an appropriate risk assessment of all vessels arriving in Australia. This information is also passed to customs partner agencies to allow for further risk assessment and compliance with other Commonwealth requirements.
In relation to this reporting requirement, the following should be noted:
This report is mandatory for all first port vessels. If the vessel has no passengers a `Nil' report is not required.
Customs will not normally require this report to be made at subsequent (i.e. intermediate) ports in Australia. However, this may be required from time to time at the discretion of the local customs office.
This report is to be made to the local customs office at the port where the vessel intends to arrive and may be provided: by hand, fax or email. However, the local customs office will require a signed original form after the vessel has arrived. For relevant customs contact details see your local customs office.
Under S.64ACE of the Act, a report is only taken to have been communicated to customs when it is received by customs.
Penalty provisions do apply for failure to comply with the reporting requirement under S.64ACD of the Act.
Crew Signing on a Vessel:  Where crew wish to sign-on to a vessel in Australia, there are a number of requirements that must be met.
Customs form B522 Seaports – Notification of Sign-On, contains certain bio-data details of crew wishing to sign on to a vessel. It has been introduced to allow customs to perform an appropriate risk assessment and to check a crew member's lawful status prior to signing the crew member onto the vessel.
This form must be submitted (by hand, fax or email) to the local customs office 24 hrs. prior to the expected sign-on taking place. Failure to submit the form, 24 hrs. in advance may result in delays in customs attendance for sign-on, or delays during customs sign-on processing. Where Agents/Masters receive notice less than 24 hrs. prior to a crew change taking place, it is expected that they will provide this form to the local customs office as soon as possible and provide a reason for the late notice.
    The form includes the following data: 
  1. vessel details
  2. crew bio-data
  3. expected sign-on date and time.
It includes the question ``Australian Maritime Crew Visa holder? Yes/No''. This is an opportunity for the Master/Agent to provide customs with an indication of whether or not crew are believed to hold an Australian Maritime Crew Visa.
After providing this form to customs, Agents/Masters will still need to make contact with the local customs office to determine where and when the actual sign-on processing activity will occur. It may occur on board the vessel, at Customs House or some other location as advised by customs.
It should be noted that for crew to sign-on a vessel, the vessel must have arrived in Australia (eg. be in a customs S.15 port, be at an Australian Resource Installation, etc).
Crew attempting to sign-on a vessel that has not yet arrived in Australia, or after it has departed Australia, are to be treated as passengers, and are ineligible to utilise their MCV to be considered lawful in Australia. Agents/Masters are to utilise the same form to advise customs of sign-ons occurring under these circumstances.
Crew members who join a vessel prior to its arrival in Australia, and the vessel then arrives in Australia will be outwards cleared as a passenger when joining the vessel and then cleared inwards as crew when the vessel eventually arrives.
Crew sign-ons to a vessel that is between ports in Australia can be approved subject to the Master/Agent obtaining relevant permissions from the local customs office.
Where crew members are awaiting a sign-on to a vessel in Australia and are currently on a short term visa (eg transit visa only 3–5 days) and have concerns that they may not sign-on to a vessel prior to the expiry of their period of stay, it is important that advice is sought from customs or DIAC to determine options for extending that period of stay for those crew.
Crew Signing Off a Vessel:  Where crew members wish to sign-off a vessel in Australia, there are a number of requirements that must be met.
Customs Form B521 Seaports Notification of Sign-Off, contains certain bio-data details of crew wishing to sign-off and allows customs to perform an appropriate risk assessment and to check a crew member's lawful status prior to signing the crewmember off a vessel. Form must be submitted (by hand, fax or email) to the local customs office 24 hrs. prior to the expected sign-off taking place. Failure to submit the form, 24 hours in advance may result in delays in customs attendance for sign-off or delays during customs sign-off processing. Where Agents/Masters receive notice less than 24 hrs. prior to a crew change taking place, it is expected that they will provide this form to the local customs office as soon as possible and provide a reason for the late notice.
    Form includes the following data: 
  1. vessel details
  2. crew bio-data
  3. expected sign-off date and time.
It also includes a space to indicate the sign-off reason eg. repatriation, hospitalisation, etc, as well as any relevant sign-off details (eg. flight details, hospital details, etc).
Number of days requested, minimum sign-off period is 5 days. Where more than 5 days is required this is to be requested via the form. It should be noted that customs can only approve up to 10 days for a sign-off period. Where more than 10 days is required, this will need to be referred to a DIAC Regional Seaports officer.
After providing this form to customs, Agents/Masters will still need to make contact with the local customs office to determine where and when the actual sign-off processing activity will occur. The sign-off processing may occur on board the vessel, at Customs House or some other location as advised by customs.
It should be noted that for crew to sign-off a vessel, the vessel must have arrived in Australia (eg. be in a Customs S.15 port, be at an Australian Resource Installation, etc). Crew attempting to sign-off a vessel that has not yet arrived in Australia (before first port arrival) or after it has departed Australia (after last port of departure), are to be treated as passengers, and are ineligible to utilise their MCV to be considered lawful in Australia (they need a visa other than the MCV to be lawful). Agents/Masters are to utilise the same form to advise customs of sign-offs occurring under these circumstances.
Where crew do depart a vessel prior to its arrival in Australia, they are to be removed from the inwards crew list and will be inwards cleared as a passenger when they arrive in Australia.
Crew sign-offs from a vessel that is between ports in Australia, can be approved subject to Master/Agents obtaining relevant permissions from the local customs office.
Where crew members have signed-off a vessel and their departure from Australia (or sign-on to another vessel) is delayed, it is important that advice is sought from DIAC or customs on how they may be able to extend their sign-off period to avoid becoming unlawful.
Miscellaneous Processing Requirements:  Imported Vessels: Immigration policy states, that upon a vessel's importation (arrival and customs import entry) all foreign crew are regarded as having signed-off the vessel. Crew signed-off will have 5 days to depart the country, sign-on to another non-military ship as crew or utilise another visa to remain in Australia (eg. business visa, tourist visa, etc).
Customs will require a completed B521 – Seaports-Notification of Sign-Off form listing all crew members signing-off the vessel where a vessel is to be imported.
Exported Vessels: Immigration policy states, that upon a vessel's exportation (departure and customs export entry) all foreign crew are regarded as having signed-on the vessel. Crew signed-on will be subject to the same processing arrangements as normal sign-on crew.
Customs will require a completed B522 – Seaports-Notification of Sign-On form listing all crew members signing-on the vessel where a vessel is to be exported. They will also require a Customs Form 3B - Crew Report of all persons on board the vessel at the time of departure.
Medivacs and Distressed Seafarers:  Crew required to be medivaced from vessels into Australia are generally eligible to utilise their MCV to enter and remain in Australia. Agents/Masters are to advise their local customs office of medivacs as soon as they become aware of them. Depending on the circumstance, sign-off processing may or may not occur at the location where the crew arrive in Australia. The local customs office will normally request a form B521 Seaports-Notification of Sign-Off form be supplied so they have a record of the relevant details relating to the medivaced crew.
Depending on their transportation arrangements distressed seafarers may be treated like medivacs or as passengers. Agents/Masters are to advise their local customs office of distressed seafarer arrivals as soon as they become aware of them. The local customs office will advise of appropriate reporting arrangements on a case by case basis.
Deserters:  There are generally two situations whereby crew are considered to have deserted their vessel:
  1. when the crew member simply leaves the vessel without the Master's permission; or
  2. when the Master grants permission for shore leave, but the crew member does not return to the vessel.
Where a Master/Agent suspects that a crew member has deserted a vessel this is to be reported immediately to customs. Customs will liaise with DIAC to take appropriate actions in relation to suspected deserters. It should be noted that under S.228 of the Migration Act 1958, Masters are obliged to report to customs details of any crew that are absent from their vessel at the time of its departure from a port.
Use of Customs Forms:  New Sign-On/Off, Seaports Immigration Clearance Advice forms and the form 13, 3B, 2A and 2B are all customs forms. They have been distributed to industry in Microsoft Word format at Agents request so that data can be input directly into the forms electronically, rather than by completing them by hand. Customs is happy to assist in this manner, but will only accept these forms if all other formatting and wording is unchanged.
Changes to the formats of these documents may result in them being unacceptable as a means of reporting. Current versions of these documents are available from the customs website www.customs.gov.au
Ships carrying cargo must communicate the impending arrival report, actual arrival report and cargo reports to customs electronically. All goods intended to be unloaded from the ship or remaining on board must be reported.
Ships not carrying cargo may report information manually or electronically to customs.
Shipping representatives or Agents in Australia can also assist on how to meet electronic reporting obligations determined by customs legislation.
    Ships will be required to produce the following reports on arrival: 
  1. Ship’s Report of Arrival
  2. Passenger and Crew Report
  3. Report of Ships Stores
  4. Crew Effects Declaration.
Penalties for non-compliance with Australia′s border legislation can be severe. So if any doubts whether goods in your possession require a permit or special conditions are to be met, you are advised to contact the Customs Information and Support Centre.
Temporary Imports:  Commercial goods brought into Australia with the intention of being sold are subject to the normal rates of duty and tax where applicable.
Transshipments: Goods being transshipped through Australia must be reported on a cargo report. Customs will allocate a transaction number for the transshipped goods. This number will be acquitted after the consignment is exported. The number will be used on the export manifest to reconcile the two movements.
Crew Entitlements: At first port of call in Australia, each crew member is allowed duty free 250 cigarettes (or equivalent in tobacco products) and any one bottle of spirits (not exceeding 1.125 l.). Information on customs electronic reporting requirements, customs documents, manual reporting forms or advice on procedures, can be obtained by visiting the customs website www.customs.gov.au
Reporting Absent Crew:  On departing a port in Australia, Master must report to customs, (on a Form 25 Report of Absent Members of Crew), any crew member who was on board the vessel on arrival at that port but is absent, with or without leave, when the vessel departs from that port. This does not include crew who have signed off. Failure to report absent crew could result in a fine of AUD4,000.
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC):  Cross-border movement of bearer negotiable instruments: In 2006, new legislation was introduced to protect Australians from money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Under this law, travellers entering or leaving Australia must, if asked by a customs or police officer, disclose whether they are carrying bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs). BNI include travellers cheques, cheques, money orders, postal orders or promissory notes.
The separate requirement for travellers to declare that they are carrying AUD10,000 cash or more (or foreign currency equivalent) in or out of Australia still applies. The AUSTRAC is Australia′s anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit.
For more information www.austrac.gov.au
Contact:  Department of Immigration and Border Protection (National Office). T: +61 (2) 6264 1111. F: +61 (2) 6225 6970. www.border.gov.au
Currency:  Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) require that travellers entering or leaving Australia must, if asked by a Customs or police officer, disclose whether they are carrying bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs). BNIs include travellers cheques, cheques, money orders, postal orders or promissory notes. The separate requirement for travellers to declare that they are carrying AUD10,000 cash or more (or foreign currency equivalent) in or out of Australia still applies.
Certificates and Documents:  The following certificates and documents should also be made available for inspection on arrival:
1 Crew Travel documents
1 Document of Compliance
1 International Load Line Certificate
1 International Tonnage Certificate
1 International Vaccination Certificates of all personnel
1 IOPP Certificate
1 Last Port Clearance
1 Light Dues Receipt
1 Oil Record Book
1 Passenger Ship Safety Certificate
1 Register of Cargo Gear (Refer to Marine Orders, Part 32)
1 Registry Certificate
1 Safety Management System Certificate
1 Ship Safety Construction Certificate
1 Ship Safety Equipment Certificate
1 Ship Safety Radio Certificate
1 Ship Sanitation Control (Exemption) Certificate
1 Ship's Articles
1 Ship's Log
The Master and crew are advised that Australian ABF will not permit the vessel to land any items unless prior approval has been sought and given.
ISPS COMPLIANCE:  Ports of entry within the country are ISPS compliant.
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. www.infrastructure.gov.au/
PILOTAGE:  Pilot Ladders:  Australia strictly observes the international regulations and recommendations for pilot ladders and pilot boarding arrangements.
The following apply:
SOLAS Chapter 5 Reg 17: Regulations for Pilot Ladders and Mechanical Pilot Hoists.
IMO Res A.426(XI): Recommendation on Arrangements for Embarking and Disembarking Pilots in Very Large Ships.
IMO Res A.667(16): Recommendation on Pilot Transfer Arrangements.
IMO Res A.275 (VIII): Recommendation on Performance Standards for Mechanical Pilot Hoists.
DEEP SEA PILOTAGE:  Coastal and Reef Pilotage:  Since 2005 the Great Barrier Reef Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) has included the Torres Strait. Licensed pilots are available for the whole of the Queensland coast, including Torres Strait, the Inner Route of the Great Barrier Reef, the Great North East Channel, and the reef entrances at Hydrographers Passage, Palm Passage and Grafton Passage.
Compulsory Pilotage:  The Inner Route of the Great Barrier Reef between Cape York (Lat. 10° 41′ S) and Cairns (Lat. 16° 40′ S), Torres Strait, and also Hydrographers Passage, has been declared a Compulsory Pilotage District. All vessels 70 m. or more in length and all loaded oil tankers, chemical carriers and liquefied gas carriers, regardless of length, are required to use the services of a licensed Pilot. The compulsory pilotage areas are rigorously monitored by the Authorities.
IMO Recommendation on Pilotage:  The attention of Shipmasters is drawn to the IMO Recommendation A(710) on pilotage in Torres Strait and the Great North East Channel.
The Torres Strait Pilotage Area is bounded on the south by the line of Lat. 10° 41′ S, and on the north by Australia's EEZ, and divided into the following two parts:
Torres Strait Pilotage Area A is bounded by Long. 141° 50′ E and 142° 05′ E.
Torres Strait Pilotage Area B is bounded by Long. 142° 05′ E and 143° 24′ E.
Also see Report
Pilot Boarding:  Vessels requiring a Pilot are to arrange for the Pilot to board at the following locations:
Eastbound vessels of draft of 8 m. or more: Booby Island Lat. 10° 36′ S, Long. 141° 50′ E.
Eastbound vessels of draft less than 8m.: Goods Island Lat. 10° 34′ S, Long. 142° 04′ E.
Westbound vessels: Dalrymple Island Lat. 09° 34′ S, Long. 143° 24′ E.
Masters of eastbound vessels with a draft of less than 8 m. can request the services of a Pilot from Booby Island if they wish to do so.
Charts:  Vessels embarking a Pilot for a transit of Torres Strait must carry the following Australian charts fully corrected to the latest Notices to Mariners: Aus 289, 292, 293, 296, 839 and 840.
Australian Reef Pilots Pty Ltd:  Pilotage arranged through Australian Reef Pilots Pty Ltd. Initial contact shall be made, where possible, at least ten days in advance in order to allow for the relevant arrangements and formalities to be completed. Pilot assistance will be provided for vessel's transit of Hydrographer's Passage, Diamond Islets and Jomard Entrance. Northbound and southbound vessels, Pilot transfer will take place at Torlesse boarding ground, (Lat. 10° 46′ S, Long. 152° 13′ E). Pilot transfer will be by launch rather than helicopter.
The initial message must include IMO number/call-sign, required boarding ground, ETA (UTC +10 hrs), draft, destination, and speed through water.
Pilot will be on board vessel for approx. 50 hours while sailing between Papua New Guinea and Australia. As such, Australian Customs and Immigration require Pilot's details be added to Crew List as a supernumerary at least 24 hours before arrival or departure. Australian Reef Pilots will provide Pilot's details in advance. Tel: +61 (7) 3666 2660. Mobile: +61 4138 78792. operations@reefpilots.com.au
There is currently no change to the pilotage arrangements offered by Hydro Pilots and Torres Pilots.
Pilotage Providers:  Australian Reef Pilots Pty Ltd and Torres Pilots are licensed by AMSA to provide pilotage through the Torres Strait.
Australian Reef Pilots Pty Ltd, PO Box 826, Brisbane, Qld 4001. Tel: +61 (7) 3666 2660. Fax: +61 (7) 3666 2666. Tlx: 51 9407 6260 ARPB G. operations@reefpilots.com.au www.reefpilots.com.au/ Contact: Alan Maffina, General Manager.
Torres Pilots, PO Box 674, Bulimba, Queensland 4171, Australia. Tel: +61 (7) 3217 9544 (24 hrs.). Fax: +61 (7) 3217 9722. operations@torrespilots.com.au
Hydrographers Passage:  Hydro Pilots, PO Box 4018, South Mackay, QLD 4740, Australia. Tel: +61 (7) 4944 0455. F: +61 (7) 4944 0755. Tlx: AA48105 HPILOT. Voicemail: +61 (7) 4944 0455. hydropilots@hydropilots.com.au Contact: Captain James HC London, Director.
Under-Keel Clearance:  Reliance on Charts and Predicted Tides: Prudent mariners navigate with adequate under-keel clearance at all times making due allowances for all the factors that are likely to reduce the depth beneath their keels. To ensure an adequate under-keel clearance throughout a passage, an under-keel allowance may be laid down by a competent authority or determined on board when planning the passage. The factors to be taken into account when determining this allowance are given in the Mariners' Handbook , NP 100, 6th Edition.It has become increasingly evident that economic pressures are causing mariners to navigate through waters of barely adequate depths, with under-keel clearance being finely assessed from the charted depths and predicted tide levels.Hydrographic surveys have inherent technical limitations due partly to uncertainties in the tidal reductions in offshore areas. Furthermore, in some areas, the shape, and hence the depth, of the seabed is constantly changing. Nautical charts can seldom, therefore, be absolutely reliable in their representation of depth and, when tidal predictions are applied to the chart as if they were actual tide levels, the uncertainties are clearly compounded.The limitations of hydrographic surveys are discussed at length in the Mariners' Handbook and factors affecting tide levels are described in the introduction to the Australian National Tide Tables.It cannot be too strongly emphasised that even charts based on modern surveys may not show all seabed obstructions or the shallowest depths, and actual tide levels may be appreciably lower than those predicted.
  1. Prudent mariners navigate with adequate under-keel clearance at all times making due allowances for all the factors that are likely to reduce the depth beneath their keels. To ensure an adequate under-keel clearance throughout a passage, an under-keel allowance may be laid down by a competent authority or determined on board when planning the passage. The factors to be taken into account when determining this allowance are given in the Mariners' Handbook , NP 100, 6th Edition.
  2. It has become increasingly evident that economic pressures are causing mariners to navigate through waters of barely adequate depths, with under-keel clearance being finely assessed from the charted depths and predicted tide levels.
  3. Hydrographic surveys have inherent technical limitations due partly to uncertainties in the tidal reductions in offshore areas. Furthermore, in some areas, the shape, and hence the depth, of the seabed is constantly changing. Nautical charts can seldom, therefore, be absolutely reliable in their representation of depth and, when tidal predictions are applied to the chart as if they were actual tide levels, the uncertainties are clearly compounded.
  4. The limitations of hydrographic surveys are discussed at length in the Mariners' Handbook and factors affecting tide levels are described in the introduction to the Australian National Tide Tables.
  5. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that even charts based on modern surveys may not show all seabed obstructions or the shallowest depths, and actual tide levels may be appreciably lower than those predicted.
Also see Torres Strait
PRATIQUE:  The AQIS Seaports program inspects all incoming vessels, including commercial and non-commercial vessels that enter Australian ports. Prior to arrival, all vessels, greater than LOA 25 m., arriving in Australia, Christmas Island or Cocos Island from overseas, or that have been in contact with overseas vessels or sea installations, are required to submit a quarantine pre-arrival report for vessels form QPAR to AQIS.
A QPAR must be submitted to AQIS at the First Port of Call no more than 96 and no less than 12 hrs. prior to the vessel's ETA in Australia, Christmas Island or Cocos Island. The QPAR is usually submitted by the Agent on behalf of the Master, and by announcing the planned arrival of the vessel or Installation, signals the start of Quarantine clearance.
AQIS must be notified immediately if the current status of the vessel (relating to questions on the QPAR) changes at any time. If the QPAR is not provided, a Non-Granting of Pratique form will be issued and AQIS will meet vessels on arrival. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence.
Information on how to complete the QPAR can be found at www.aqis.gov.au/shipping
When quarantine clearance for a vessel has been granted, the vessel should proceed directly to the berth if available and, as soon as possible after the vessel's arrival at the berth, a quarantine officer will board the vessel and carry out an inspection. Inspection time can be reduced if vessels follow the guidelines provided within the AQIS requirements for bonding/seizure of stores derived from foot and mouth disease countries on overseas vessels arriving in Australian waters document.
Vessels that intend to enter an Australian non-proclaimed port as their first port of call or subsequent port of call, must apply for permission to enter that port under section 20AA or S33 of the Quarantine Act 1908. Applications are to be made on an application for permission to enter an Australian non-proclaimed first port of entry and/or subsequent port of call form, and submitted to AQIS at least 10 days before the intended date of arrival.
Further information, including a list of proclaimed ports, is available in the guidelines to entering a non-proclaimed port. AQIS is a cost-recovered organisation and all quarantine forms and information can be obtained from the Agent or from Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services www.aqis.gov.au/shipping
Immigration Clearance:  Under the Migration Act (S.172) all crew and passengers entering Australia are required to present for Immigration Clearance on arrival. Any person arriving in Australia and who departs a vessel (port limits) prior to being Immigration cleared is deemed to have `bypassed Immigration Clearance'. Persons who have bypassed Immigration Clearance may become subject to certain actions by Customs or Immigration that may result in them becoming unlawful and subject to Immigration compliance action (eg. visa may be ceased, may be subjected to restriction on board the vessel, etc).
A ship is deemed to have arrived under the Customs Act 1901, when it is secured within a Customs S.15 port (or at a place subject to a Customs S.58 permission). Secured means when the vessel has dropped its anchor (if it goes to anchorage) or when it is made all-fast at a berth.
Customs will normally complete immigration clearance at the time the vessel arrives at the berth at its first port of arrival in Australia. However, this may also occur en route from the last overseas port (eg. when Customs joins a cruise ship for its voyage to Australia) or at a subsequent port (eg. where customs do not board at the vessel's first port of arrival). In some cases customs may also provide immigration clearance for a vessel without actually boarding the vessels.
Crew and passengers arriving on vessels into Australia must satisfy the following requirements to be immigration cleared:
Crew/passenger must hold a valid national passport; Crew must hold a Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) or other appropriate visa, which grants sea crew rights, granted against the same passport. The MCV will become mandatory for all crew;
For crew there must be another document that establishes the crew member’s employment on the vessel (eg. crew list, ship's articles, seaman's book, record of contract);
Passengers must hold an appropriate visa that allows their entry into Australia consistent with the purposes of their visit (eg. business visa, tourist visa, etc).
All crew/passengers must present in person for Immigration Clearance. At this point Customs will complete a face-to-passport check to verify the identity of the passport holder.
Foreign crew who fail to meet the above requirements may be restricted on board the vessel. In addition, the operator, Master, charterer, and Agent may also be liable for an infringement notice up to AUD5,000 for each person who is refused Immigration Clearance.
Regardless of whether or not crew have been Immigration cleared on arrival, under S.225 of the Migration Act 1958, at any point during its voyage in Australia, Customs may require the Master of a vessel to muster the crew of the vessel in their presence.
This requirement extends to crew producing their relevant identity documents (i.e. passport). For this reason it is recommended that all crew passports be held securely by the Master of the vessel during its voyage in Australia and crew not be allowed to take personal possession of their passports. For identification purpose ashore it is recommended that crew use some form of photographic identification, other than the passport (eg. photocopy of passport bio page, seaman’s ID book, company ID card, etc).
Customs Form B523 - Seaports Immigration Clearance Advice:  As indicated above, it is important that the crew and passengers of vessels arriving in Australia are aware of their status and in particular whether or not they have been Immigration cleared. As of 1 July 2007, Customs introduced Seaports Immigration Clearance Advice (Customs Form B523). This advice provides more certainty to Agents and Masters about when crew and passengers have been immigration cleared, have been refused immigration clearance or are still in the process of being immigration cleared. The advice will be issued by customs for every first port arrival vessel (excluding military vessels). This advice is not a mandated requirement under any legislation; rather it is an administrative arrangement, which has been implemented to provide some transparency and certainty around the immigration clearance process. It is recommended that a copy of this advice is kept by the Master/Agent after it has been issued by customs.
The Immigration Clearance Advice can be issued by Customs as follows:
If the vessel is not to be boarded: Advice can be issued at any stage prior to the vessel's arrival. The advice will be provided by customs (by hand, fax or email) to the Agent for delivery to the Master. Where customs wish to revoke an advice after it has been issued they will make contact with the Agent to advise them of this.
If the vessel is to be boarded: Advice is to be issued by the customs officers who have boarded the vessel at the conclusion of the immigration clearance activity. The advice would normally be provided to the vessel's Master.
It should be noted that this advice is issued once only for each arrival. The advice indicates that all crew and passengers on board the vessel have been immigration cleared; however, it also allows for several exceptions to this, as follows:
Refused Immigration Clearance: Crew that have been formally refused immigration clearance will normally be restricted on board the vessel. They are subject to the conditions listed on the Restricted on Board advice issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Immigration Clearance Still in Progress: Crew that have not yet been Immigration cleared or been refused clearance are still in immigration clearance. As a result these crew should remain on board the vessel until they receive formal advice in relation to their status. Should they disembark the vessel and leave the port limits they may be deemed to have bypassed immigration clearance and may be subject of restriction on board or other Immigration action. Agents/Masters will be advised as soon as possible of any change in status of a crewmember by DIAC or customs (eg. lifting of Restriction on Board or completion of immigration clearance).
PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION:  All commercial vessels must now use the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) for all vessel pre-arrival reporting. Full details and online access to MARS is available at www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/avm/vessels
Biosecurity Reporting Obligations:  Pre-arrival information, and changes, for maritime conveyances (vessels) must be reported in a form approved by the Director of Biosecurity, which is MARS. Electronic offline forms can be used where there is limited connectivity, but they do not constitute the approved form. Your reporting obligations are met once your information has been submitted in MARS.
Vessel Operator Responsibilities:  The operator of the vessel is obligated to accurately report information in accordance with Section 193 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. This information must be lodged in MARS no later than 12 hours prior to arrival.
Shipping Agent Responsibilities:  Where the vessel operator uses a shipping agent, the agent is responsible for lodgement of accurate and timely information into MARS. The agent must ensure that this information is a true and correct representation of the reports provided by the vessel operator, and that any changes have been confirmed with the operator.
Any changes in circumstances during the voyage in Australian waters must be reported to the department as soon as practicable.
Pre-Arrival Report:  The Pre Arrival Report (PAR) must be completed by a vessel Master or agent. It notifies the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of impending vessel arrivals to Australia. The information collected on the PAR is used to assess the biosecurity risk of the vessel. PAR must be submitted via MARS between 96 and 12 hours before the estimated time of arrival of the vessel at the Australian border. The Pre Arrival Report covers vessel’s particulars, arrival details, sanitation, human health and biosecurity.
The Itinerary Update Form is for Agents and Masters to advise the department of changes to a vessel’s itinerary for a voyage. Use this form for changes after a PAR has already been submitted, for changes to a vessel’s subsequent port itinerary. Masters and agents to complete this form and send to the MNCC to action.
Ballast Water Report:  A Ballast Water Report (BWR) must be completed by the Master of the vessel prior to arrival in Australian territory, if intending to discharge ballast using a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS). The BWR is to be submitted via MARS no later than 12 hours before a vessel enters Australia.
BWR can be accessed either from the Submit Applications drop down menu or by clicking on the Ballast Water Report shortcut on the MARS application. Ballast Water Reports may be completed manually in MARS by direct data entry or by uploading an XML data file. A pdf version of the BWR form is available to download at www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/avm/vessels/ballast /management-system-report
Vessels must retain all ballast water reports and any relevant vessel logbooks for a period of two years, and make these available to biosecurity officers on request.
Entry to Australian Ports:  Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, vessels that are subject to biosecurity control must enter Australian ports at a first point of entry, unless permission has been granted to the Master or Agent by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to enter a non-first point of entry (under subsection 247(b) of the Act).
Plants, animals and other kinds of goods may only be landed at certain points. International vessels must comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the First Point of Entry Biosecurity Determinations 2016 when entering an Australian port.
First Point of Entry Ports are: Albany; Ardrossan; Botany Bay; Bowen; Brisbane; Broome; Bundaberg; Bunbury; Burnie; Cairns; Carnavon; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Coffs Harbour; Dampier; Darwin; Derby; Devonport; Eden; Esperance; Exmouth; Freemantle; Geelong; Geraldton; Gladstone; Hay Point; Hobart; Launceston; Lord Howe Island; Lucinda; Mackay; Melbourne; Melville Bay; Milner Bay; Newcastle; Port Adelaide; Port Alma; Port Bonython; Port Giles; Port Hedland; Port Huon; Port Kembla; Port Kennedy; Port Latta; Port Lincoln; Port Pirie; Port Walcott; Portland; Spring Bay; Stanley; Sydney; Thevenard; Townsville; Wallaroo; Weipa; Westernport; Whyalla; Wyndham; Yamba.
Contact:  Maritime National Coordination Centre. T: + 1300 004 605 (inside Australia) T: +61 (8) 8201 6185 (outside Australia). F: +61 (8) 8201 6176. maritimencc@agriculture.gov.au www.agriculture.gov.au
VTS/RADAR:  Marine Order No. 63:  Marine Order 63 (vessel reporting systems) 2015 made under the Navigation Act 2012. Compilation No. 1, 11th October 2017.
Included below is some information from the order.
REEFREP:  Area means the area for the mandatory ship reporting system mentioned in IMO Resolution MSC.52 (66), as amended from time to time.
REEFVTS:  Means the service, authorised under Marine Order 64 (Vessel traffic services) 2013 (not reproduced), known as the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service.
6 – Application: 
1. Applies to each of the following vessels in the MASTREP area:
a) regulated Australian vessel
b) foreign vessel from its arrival at its first port in Australia until its departure from its final port in Australia.
Note: MASTREP helps the AMSA to carry out its search and rescue functions. For this reason, domestic commercial vessels fitted with GMDSS and AIS are also encouraged to participate whenever they are in the MASTREP area, even when it is not mandatory for them to do so.
2. Order applies to the following kinds of vessel in the REEFREP area:
a) vessel LOA of at least 50 m.
b) oil tanker
c) chemical tanker
d) vessel carrying at least 200 cu.m. of oil, whether cargo or for vessel use
e) vessel to which the INF Code applies
f) vessel engaged in towing or pushing
i. if it or the vessel being towed or pushed is a vessel mentioned in paragraph a, b, c, d or e; or
ii. if the length of tow is at least 150 m.
7 – Reporting Requirements in MASTREP Area: Vessel in the MASTREP area, Master shall ensure that reports are transmitted in accordance with Schedule 3 if the vessel is mentioned under Application Penalty: 50 penalty units.An offence against subsection (1) is a strict liability offence.A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1) Civil penalty: 50 penalty units.
  1. Vessel in the MASTREP area, Master shall ensure that reports are transmitted in accordance with Schedule 3 if the vessel is mentioned under Application
    Penalty: 50 penalty units.
  2. An offence against subsection (1) is a strict liability offence.
  3. A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1)
    Civil penalty: 50 penalty units.
Note: The publication MASTREP and Australian Mandatory Reporting Guide is available at the AMSA website: www.amsa.gov.au
8 – Reporting Requirements in REEFREP Area: 
  1. Vessel in the REEFREP area, master shall ensure that reports are made to REEFVTS in accordance with Schedule 4 if the vessel is mentioned in subsection 6 (2).
    Penalty: 50 penalty units.
  2. An offence against subsection (1) is a strict liability offence.
  3. A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1)
    Civil penalty: 50 penalty units.
9 – Prescribed Area:  For the definition of prescribed area in subsection 221 (3) of the Navigation Act:
  1. MASTREP area is prescribed; and
  2. REEFREP area is prescribed.
Schedule 3 – Reports for Vessels in MASTREP Area:  (subsection 7(1))
Position Report:  1 – Information to be Included in Position Report:  A position report shall include the following information about the vessel:
  1. identity
  2. type
  3. position
  4. course
  5. speed
  6. navigational status
  7. any safety related information.
Note: Regulation 19.2.4 of Chapter V of SOLAS requires AIS to provide this information.
2 – Position Report to be Transmitted by AIS: A position report must be transmitted by AIS.AIS to be operated in accordance with Regulation 19.2.4.7 of Chapter V of SOLAS.
  1. A position report must be transmitted by AIS.
  2. AIS to be operated in accordance with Regulation 19.2.4.7 of Chapter V of SOLAS.
Note: Regulation 19.2.4.7 of Chapter V of SOLAS provides that AIS must be operated taking into account guidelines adopted by the IMO. Relevant guidelines are the Revised guidelines for the onboard operational use of shipborne automatic identification systems (AIS), adopted by IMO Resolution A.1106 (29), as amended from time to time.
AIS Malfunction or Deactivation Report: 
3 – Reporting if AIS Is Not Operating: 
  1. Any malfunction of the AIS must be reported to JRCC Australia.
  2. If the master of the vessel switches off the AIS, this action and the reason for it must be reported to JRCC Australia, unless the reporting would compromise the safety or security of the vessel.
Schedule 4 – Reports for Vessels in REEFREP Area: 
1 – Pre-Entry Report: 
  1. To be made at least one hour before a vessel:
    a)  enters the REEFREP area; or
    b)  departs from a port in the REEFREP area.
2 – Pre-Entry Report:  The following information must be given in the order shown:
  1. vessel name, call sign. IMO No.
  2. if near an Entry/Exit Point when entering the REEFREP area, name of the Entry/Exit Point and time (UTC)
  3. if not near an Entry/Exit Point, position (Lat., Long.) and time (UTC) at the position of vessel′s entry to the REEFREP area
  4. if departing port within the REEFREP area, name of the port of departure and estimated time (UTC) of vessel′s arrival at a position near the Entry/Exit Point
  5. last port visited, next port and the route being used
  6. speed (vessel′s anticipated average speed until next report, knots and tenths of a knot) or ETA at next Entry/Exit Point
  7. draft fore, aft and midships (m. and dm.)
  8. name of anticipated final Entry/Exit Point if vessel is near Entry/Exit Point when exiting the REEFREP area, or position (Lat., Long.) anticipated exit REEFREP area, if not exiting near an Entry/Exit Point
  9. if vessel fitted with Inmarsat C — primary Inmarsat C details, Inmarsat Mobile No. (IMN), manufacturer, model
  10. vessel′s satellite T.
  11. cargo information, including normal name of cargo and whether cargo is classified as hazardous
  12. any matters required to be reported in accordance with clause 4
  13. vessel details including type, LOA (m.), g.t.
  14. other information for the navigational safety of shipping in the REEFREP area.
3 – For Paragraph 2e: 
  1. standard route plan shall be nominated; and
  2. any planned deviation from the standard route shall be identified.
Note: Standard route plans are set out in the REEFVTS User Guide, available at the AMSA www.amsa.gov.au and Maritime Safety Queensland www.msq.qld.gov.au/Shipping Standard route plans have been developed to enable vessels to communicate their intended route through the REEFREP area. They are based on Entry/Exit Points and vessel draft
2 – Route Deviation Report: 
  1. If there is a deviation from the route mentioned in the Pre-Entry Report, a Route Deviation Report must be made to REEFVTS within 15 min. after the deviation takes place.
    Note: If possible, a Route Deviation Report should be made before the deviation occurs.
  2. Route Deviation Report must contain the information mentioned in paragraphs 1, No. 2a to g.
  3. For paragraph 221 2e of the Navigation Act (not reproduced), a deviation occurs if a vessel uses a leg that is different to a leg of the route stated in the Pre-Entry Report.
3 – Intermediate Position Reports: 
Note: Intermediate Position Reports are also known as En Route position Reports.
1. If a vessel is transiting the REEFREP area, Intermediate Position Reports must be given to REEFVTS.
2. Intermediate Position Reports may be given automatically using:
a) AIS
b) Inmarsat C.
3. If AIS is used, AIS shall be operated in accordance with Regulation 19.2.4.7 of Chapter V of SOLAS.
Note: Regulation 19.2.4.7 of Chapter V of SOLAS provides that AIS must be operated taking into account guidelines adopted by the IMO. Relevant guidelines are mentioned in Schedule 3.
4. If Inmarsat C is used and the vessel is fitted with an Inmarsat C terminal that does not support remote programming, Master shall program the terminal on board so that Intermediate Position Reports are sent automatically.
Note: Instructions for programming terminals that do not support remote programming can be obtained from REEFVTS. For vessels with Inmarsat C terminals that support remote programming, REEFVTS will normally carry this out remotely without any action required by seafarers on the vessel.
5. If Intermediate Position Reports are not given automatically, they must:
a) be given manually by:
i. VHF on channels in accordance with the vessel′s position and as mentioned in the table to subclause 6 (1); or
ii. any other means of communication required by REEFVTS; and
b) be given hourly or as required by REEFVTS; and
c) include the following information:
i. vessel name, call sign, IMO No.
ii. date and time (UTC)
iii. Lat. and Long. of the vessel
iv. speed (vessel′s anticipated average speed in knots and tenths of a knot).
4 – Defect Report: 
1. A Defect Report that includes the information mentioned in subclause (2) must be given to REEFVTS if a vessel in the REEFREP area:
a) suffers damage, failure or breakdown affecting the safety of the vessel or
b) deviates because of damage, failure or breakdown or
c) is required, under the Navigation Act or the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, to report
i. safety related information or
ii. an incident involving dangerous goods, harmful substances or marine pollutants.
2. The information is the following:
a) vessel name, call sign and IMO number
b) position (Lat., Long.) and time of reporting (UTC)
c) course
d) speed (vessel′s anticipated average speed until next report, in knots and tenths of a knot)
e) description and details of any damage, failure or breakdown suffered, including:
i. collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding or cargo shifting; and
ii. failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion plant, electrical generating system or essential shipborne navigational aids
f) details, using recognised IMO reporting formats, of:
i. safety messages including on matters such as navigational safety, abnormal weather or unserviceable aids to navigation; and
ii. incident reports involving dangerous goods, harmful substances or marine pollutants.
Note: Clause 3 of Schedule 3 requires vessels to which that Schedule applies to report any malfunction or deactivation of the AIS to JRCC Australia.
5 – Final Report: 
1. A Final Report must be given to REEFVTS when a vessel is:
a) exiting the REEFREP area and
b) arriving at a port in the REEFREP area.
2) Final Report shall include the following information:
a) vessel name, call sign, IMO No.
b) if near an Entry/Exit Point when exiting the REEFREP area, name of Entry/Exit Point and time (UTC)
c) if not near an Entry/Exit Point, position (Lat. And Long.) and time (UTC) of vessel′s exit from the REEFREP area
d) if arriving at a port in the REEFREP area:
i. the name of an Entry/Exit Point if the vessel is near an Entry/Exit Point, or
ii. the position (Lat., Long.) and time (UTC) of arrival at the port;
e) other information for the navigational safety of shipping in the REEFREP area.
6 – Reporting Method: 
1. A report mentioned in this Schedule must be made by one of the following methods:
a) AIS
b) Inmarsat C – through POR LES (212) using special access code (SAC) 861
c) VHF channels in accordance with the vessel′s position and as mentioned in the following table:
Lat. from Lat. to VHF  
(S) (S) Channel  
09° 00′ S 13° 30′ S 14  
13° 30′ S 18° 00′ S 11  
18° 00′ S 20° 00′ S 14  
20° 00′ S 22° 00′ S 11  
22° 00′ S 24° 30′ S 14  
d) T: +61 1300 721 293
e) F: +61 7 4721 0633
f) reefvts@vtm.qld.gov.au
Notes: Paragraph b, This service is free of charge.
Paragraph c, REEFVTS is operational 24 hours a day.
2. However, subclause (1) does not apply to Intermediate Position Reports.
3. Language to be used for reporting is English, using the IMO Standard Marine Communications Phrases.
4. If failure of a vessel′s equipment prevents reporting, an entry must be made:
a) for radio equipment – in the vessel′s radio log book and
b) for other equipment – in the vessel′s official log book.
7 – Entry/Exit Points:  In this schedule - Entry/Exit point means one of the following points: 
Reporting Point Designation Position
Bramble A Lat. 09° 15′ S, Long. 143° 50′ E
Daru B Lat. 09° 24′ S, Long. 143° 27′ E
Thursday Island D1 Lat. 10° 36′ S, Long. 142° 14′ E
Booby D Lat. 10° 37′ S, Long. 141° 49′ E
Endeavour E Lat. 10° 49′ S, Long. 142° 15′ E
Cape Flattery M1 Lat. 14° 54′ S, Long. 145° 18′ E
Grafton Passage P Lat. 16° 40′ S, Long. 146° 13′ E
Cairns P1 Lat. 16° 48′ S, Long. 145° 51′ E
Mourilyan Q1 Lat. 17° 35′ S, Long. 146° 10′ E
Palm Passage R Lat. 18° 15′ S, Long. 147° 05′ E
Lucinda R1 Lat. 18° 29′ S, Long. 146° 26′ E
Townsville (N) S1 Lat. 19° 06′ S, Long. 146° 54′ E
Townsville (S) S2 Lat. 19° 08′ S, Long. 146° 57′ E
Blossom U Lat. 19° 44′ S, Long. 150° 26′ E
Abbot Point T1 Lat. 19° 48′ S, Long. 148° 04′ E
Cid Harbour V1 Lat. 20° 15′ S, Long. 148° 56′ E
Mackay Y1 Lat. 21° 08′ S, Long. 149° 22′ E
Hay Point (NE) Y3 Lat. 21° 12′ S, Long. 149° 30′ E
Hay Point (S) Y4 Lat. 21° 14′ S, Long. 149° 30′ E
Swain Z1 Lat. 21° 50′ S, Long. 153° 10′ E
Archer Z2 Lat. 22° 45′ S, Long. 153° 25′ E
Sandy Cape Z3 Lat. 24° 30′ S, Long. 153° 35′ E
Port Alma Z4 Lat. 23° 23′ S, Long. 151° 03′ E
Gladstone (N) Z5 Lat. 23° 45′ S, Long. 151° 31′ E
Gladstone (E) Z6 Lat. 23° 54′ S, Long. 151° 45′ E
Bundaberg (W) Z7 Lat. 24° 30′ S, Long. 152° 25′ E
Bundaberg (E) Z8 Lat. 24° 30′ S, Long. 152° 48′ E
Note: Entry/exit points are shown on charts No. AUS490, AUS4620 and AUS4635 as ship reporting points, with designation and position. They are also listed in the Admiralty List of Radio Signals NP286(4) Volume 6.
MASTREP:  The Modernised Australian Ship Tracking and Reporting System (MASTREP) as described in Marine Order 63 Vessel Reporting Systems, effective 1 January 2016, is used to track the location of vessels. Under this system:
  1. positional reporting for vessels is sourced from the vessel’s Automatic Identification System (AIS)
  2. Sailing Plans, Deviation Reports and Final Reports are not required
  3. communications with vessels continue to be available through Inmarsat, HF, satellite telephony and other means
  4. Special Reports are required to support AMSA’s role in shipping oversight and incident reporting management.
MASTREP is operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as part of the services offered by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Australia). JRCC Australia is staffed 24 hours per day.
MASTREP is designed to minimise the reporting requirements on vessels using International Marine Organization (IMO) mandated AIS technology to provide positional advice to AMSA. It:
  1. increases the timeliness and accuracy of data collected from a much larger number of vessels plying the waters within the Australian Search and Rescue Region (SRR)
  2. provides AMSA with the capability to significantly improve its pollution, marine casualty and search and rescue (SAR) incident responses through faster and more effective management of incidents and resources
  3. ensures that only the closest vessels will be requested to assist in a SAR incident reducing the need for vessels to steam long distances from their intended voyage plan.
Coverage Area:  The area of coverage is identical for both MASTREP and the SRR. Coordinates of this area are:
  1. the coast of the Antarctic continent in longitude 075° E, thence
  2. Lat. 06° 00′ S, Long. 075° 00′ E
  3. Lat. 02° 00′ S, Long. 078° 00′ E
  4. Lat. 02° 00′ S, Long. 092° 00′ E
  5. Lat. 12° 00′ S, Long. 107° 00′ E
  6. Lat. 12° 00′ S, Long. 123° 20′ E
  7. Lat. 09° 20′ S, Long. 126° 50′ E
  8. Lat. 07° 00′ S, Long. 135° 00′ E
  9. Lat. 09° 50′ S, Long. 139° 40′ E
  10. Lat. 09° 50′ S, Long. 141° 00′ E
  11. Lat. 09° 37′ S, Long. 141° 01′ E
  12. Lat. 09° 08′ S, Long. 143° 53′ E
  13. Lat. 09° 24′ S, Long. 144° 13′ E
  14. Lat. 12° 00′ S, Long. 144° 00′ E
  15. Lat. 12° 00′ S, Long. 155° 00′ E
  16. Lat. 14° 00′ S, Long. 155° 00′ E
  17. Lat. 14° 00′ S, Long. 161° 15′ E
  18. Lat. 17° 40′ S, Long. 163° 00′ E
  19. thence to the coast of the Antarctic continent in longitude 163° 00′ E.
Position Reports:  Mandatory for:
  1. foreign vessels from the arrival at its first port in Australia until its departure from its final port in Australia; and
  2. all regulated Australian vessels whilst in the MASTREP area.
Domestic commercial vessels fitted with Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and AIS technology are also encouraged to participate in the system as MASTREP assists AMSA in carrying out SAR activities.
MASTREP uses Position Reports, which must be transmitted by AIS in accordance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Chapter 5, Regulation 19.2.4. Position Reports must include the following information:
  1. identity
  2. type
  3. position
  4. course
  5. speed
  6. navigational status
  7. safety related information.
The Master of a vessel must report any malfunction of the vessel’s AIS equipment to JRCC Australia in accordance with Section 186 of the Navigation Act 2012.
REEFVTS:  The Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Ship Reporting System (REEFREP) was established as a mandatory ship reporting system under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Regulation V/11). REEFREP was formally adopted by the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee in Resolution MSC.52(66), and later amended by Resolutions MSC.161(78) and MSC.315(88).
Australia's Navigation Act 2012 gives the general power to make regulations to implement SOLAS (S339) and the related power to make Australian Marine Orders (S342). The laws about mandatory ship reporting are based on these powers.
Marine Orders No. 63 (Vessel Reporting Systems 2015) states that ships which are required to report to REEFVTS must do so whether they are voyaging overseas, between states or within one state.
REEFVTS manages and operates REEFREP.
Interaction:  Ships transiting through the Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait must report to REEFVTS.
Where the ship advises it is an AUSREP reporter, then regular position reports are automatically forwarded to RCC Australia. When the vessel departs the REEFVTS area, the Master should revert to reporting directly to RCC Australia. Ships participating in AUSREP will continue to be polled whilst transiting the REEFVTS area.
When a ship departs a port within the REEFVTS area, and intends to report to AUSREP upon exiting the REEFVTS area, a Sailing Plan should be sent to RCC Australia within 2 hours of departure from the port.
If the vessel is an AUSREP reporter and arriving at a port within the REEFVTS area, the Master should advise REEFVTS that it is the Final Report for REEFVTS and AUSREP. REEFVTS will pass this information automatically onto AUSREP on the ship's behalf.
Procedures for reporting to REEFVTS are provided in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service User Guide available from AMSA and Maritime Safety Queensland offices.
Communications with RCC Australia:  Primary Communications:  Ships participating in AUSREP are required to provide several reports:
  1. Sailing Plans
  2. Position Reports (if polling is not available)
  3. Deviation Reports
  4. Final Reports.
Primary means of communication for reporting purposes:
  1. Inmarsat C. Messages sent to AUSREP using special access code (SAC 1243) via the Perth LES (Pacific 212 or Indian 312 Ocean Region satellites) will be reverse charged to RCC Australia.
  2. HF DSC. Messages sent via the AMSA HF DSC network will be free of charge. Initial contact through the AMSA HF DSC station is made by using a DSC safety priority call to MMSI 005030001. The AUSREP message can then be passed on an appropriate RT frequency. All reports sent by voice should include the mandatory format fields including the identifying letter.
Note:  If Inmarsat C reports are not sent using SAC 1243 via 212 or 312, it is likely that the messages will not be received by RCC Australia, and charges will apply to the ship.
While reporting to AUSREP, Masters should ensure that the ships Inmarsat-C equipment remains active in the Login mode at all times. Masters of ships being polled as the method of position reporting will still be required to send Sailing Plans, Deviation Reports and Final Reports, so that the system integrity is maintained. Masters are asked not to send manual position reports unless polling is unavailable or they are directed by RCC Australia to do so. Polling is the required method of position reporting when participating in AUSREP.
Masters are required to set up their Inmarsat-C terminals address book with the new Special Access Code (SAC) 1243 via Perth LES 212 (Pacific Ocean) or 312 (Indian Ocean). When setting up the address book entry for sending to SAC 1243, ASCII, 7-bit or IA5 needs to be selected for data presentation or character code.
Alternative Communications:  If for any reason communications are not possible via Inmarsat-C or via the AMSA HF DSC station, the required information must be passed by alternative means to RCC Australia using one of the following:
  1. Other Inmarsat Tel/fax services. Ships will be charged for messages sent to RCC Australia using Inmarsat systems other than Inmarsat-C
  2. Other (non Inmarsat) satellite Tel/fax service. A reverse charge telephone call or fax may be used to pass Sailing Plans and Final Reports when in port.
Contact details for RCC Australia are:
  1. T: +61 (2) 6230 6880, 1800 641 792 (free call)
  2. F: +61 (2) 6230 6868, 1800 622 153 (free fax)
  3. rccaus@amsa.gov.au
Masters are reminded that the AUSREP system is a positive SAR system, and any unreported deviations from the Sailing Plan will be investigated.
Ship Reporting Obligations:  AUSREP Reporting:  The following reports must be provided to AUSREP:
  1. Sailing Plan (SP)
  2. Position Reports (PR) (if polling is not available)
  3. Deviation Reports (DR), where applicable
  4. Final Report (FR)
  5. Special Report Types, where applicable:
    a) Dangerous Goods report (DG)
    b) Harmful Substances report (HS)
    c) Marine Pollutants report (MP)
Defects, Damage, Deficiencies or Other Limitations:  Masters should advise RCC Australia, or the Reef Centre (if in the REEFVTS area) by using the Special Report types when:
  1. damage to the ship or its equipment will affect its operation and or seaworthiness
  2. damage to the ship or its equipment means that a loss of cargo or pollution from the ship is about to, or is likely to, happen.
When making reports about the likelihood of a discharge, Masters should take into account the sea and wind state, and also traffic density in the area at the time and place of the incident.
Report Formats:  The Sailing Plan, Position Reports, Deviation Reports and Final Reports should all be sent using selected standard IMO message format fields.
Reporting Codes: 
ID Message type (PR, SP, etc.)
A Ship name, call sign and IMO number
C Current position (Lat., Long.)
E Vessel's course
F Speed (planned speed of the ship in knots and tenths of a knot)
G Name of last non-Australian Port of Call (if applicable)
H Date, time (UTC) and point joining the AUSREP system (either Lat., Long. point of entry, or Australian port of departure)
I Next non-Australian port of call and ETA (if applicable)
K Date, time (UTC) of point of departure from the AUSREP system. Either Lat., Long. of point of exit from AUSREP area or Australian port ship is making for
L Route information
M Communication methods, Coast Radio Stations monitored, Inmarsat/DSC No.
N Agreement to use Inmarsat C polling (insert word POLL) or date/time of next report (UTC) if reporting manually (where agreeing to POLL please do not send PRs as well)
P Cargo information may be passed by non-voice means if required:
1. normal name of the cargo
2. indicate Yes/No if cargo is classified as hazardous
Q Defects and damage, other limitations as applicable
R Description of pollution or dangerous goods lost overboard
S Weather conditions in area
T Ships representative (Agent) and/or owner
U Ship type, LOA (m.) and g.t.
V Medical personnel carried
W No. of persons on board
X Remarks. If polling, report make and type of Inmarsat-C terminal
Y Request to relay report to AMVER (RCC Australia will only on pass to AMVER if ship active in.
SP:  SP contains information necessary to initiate a plot and gives an outline of the intended passage. The AUSREP SP should be sent up to 24 hours before leaving an Australian port or entering the AUSREP area, or within 2 hours of leaving port, or crossing the AUSREP boundary. If the ship does not sail or cross the boundary within 2 hours of sending the SP, the original SP must be cancelled and another sent within 2 hours of the revised sailing time.
SP shall contain the mandatory fields A, F, H, K, L, M, N, U and V. Additional fields G, I, Q, R, X and Y should be added if applicable.
Joining Polling:  By inserting the word POLL in section N of the SP, a Master indicates his ship is available to be polled using Inmarsat-C. Masters should not send Position Reports if polling is being used. The inclusion of POLL in the SP authorises the download of a Data Network Identifier (DNID) to the ships Inmarsat-C terminal that allows RCC Australia to poll the ship''s position.
Masters will still be required to enter the word POLL in the SP for any voyage where polling is available. Masters must provide the number of the Inmarsat-C terminal to be polled in section M of the SP. Masters are asked to use the same terminal each time they are polled for AUSREP.
The DNID may remain in the ships terminal, but the ship will only be polled using that DNID while active in AUSREP. Because Inmarsat-C polling uses a rectangular area that extends slightly beyond the AUSREP area, Masters may find that their ship continues to be polled even though they are outside the designated AUSREP area. This happens particularly to the north and NE of the area. The additional polling is not referenced or stored once a Final Report is received from the ship.
PR:  Inmarsat-C polling is mandatory for ships participating in AUSREP. Masters should not send PRs manually whilst the ship is being polled. All costs associated with Inmarsat-C polling are borne by AMSA.
PRs should only be sent where Inmarsat C polling is not available, or when RCC Australia directs a Master to do so. Where required, PRs should be sent at a convenient time from 2200–0800 hrs. UTC as nominated by the Master. Interval between reports must not exceed 24 hours.
AUSREP PRs are processed automatically by RCC Australia. Automatic processing is efficient, but an operator may not always see the message. If a Master has additional important safety information that requires the immediate attention of an operator, the information should be entered into Field X of a PR preceded by the word ALERT. This will send the message to an operator for action. Only use ALERT to identify important safety information for immediate action.
Masters are reminded that fax or email are not suitable for AUSREP PRs.
RCC Australia cannot keep a SAR watch for ships that do not use GMDSS communications at sea (Inmarsat C or HF DSC).
PR shall contain mandatory A, B, C, E, F and N. Additional fields X and Y should be added if applicable.
The information contained in the PR will be used by RCC Australia to update the plot. The PR must reflect the position of the ship at the time of the report. Masters should always ensure that the date/time of next report is appropriate for the ship's time and location on the following day. Speed must be the anticipated speed until the next report time.
ETA for the next Australian port or AUSREP area boundary must be confirmed in the last PR of the voyage. It should also be amended in any report whenever the Master is aware of a revised ETA. If relying on Inmarsat C polling, and the Master becomes aware that there is a revised ETA for the next port or for exiting the AUSREP area boundary, a Deviation Report (DR) should be sent to notify RCC Australia.
Ships Not Intending to Send Position Reports (NOREP):  All ships must report at least daily when sailing between Australian ports. Foreign ships departing an Australian port for overseas need not send position reports outbound. Masters are asked to consider continuing reporting via polling to assist with SAR planning and response.
If the Master of a foreign ship departing on an overseas voyage from an Australian port does not intend sending AUSREP position reports, an SP must be sent to RCC Australia and include the word NOREP in place of the date/time of next report in format field N. Amplifying remarks may be included in field X if required.
Under this option, RCC Australia will not undertake any positive checks regarding the ship's safety. A NOREP ship must comply with the mandatory requirements of REEFREP should the ship enter the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait area.
DR:  DR shall be sent when a ship is more than 2 hours steaming from the position that would be predicted from the last PR or SP.
A DR can also be sent when any other voyage details are altered. The mandatory fields for a DR are: A, B, C, N and X. Additional fields should be included where applicable. The reason for the deviation should be included in Field X.
FR:  FR should be sent:
  1. for ships en route overseas and departing the AUSREP area, at the AUSREP boundary
  2. for ships ending a voyage at an Australian port within the REEFVTS area, at the last REEFVTS reporting point
  3. for ships ending a voyage at any other Australian port, when within 2 hours steaming of the port or pilot station.
Note:  When a ship approaches an Australian destination and arrives at a position where VHF contact is made with the local harbour authority or pilot station, which under normal circumstances is within 2 hours steaming of the pilotage, an FR is to be sent to RCC Australia. Under no circumstances should an FR be sent more than 2 hours before arrival. Alternatively, if the arrival is outside radio watch keeping hours for the port, the FR may be phoned to RCC Australia immediately after berthing, but no later than 2 hours after arrival. If it is known that the ship is to anchor or berth where telephone facilities are not available, then the FR should be sent to RCC Australia via Inmarsat-C or HF DSC.
Mandatory fields for an FR are A and K.
Masters must ensure that an FR is always sent to RCC Australia to prevent unnecessary SAR action and a waste of valuable resources.
Dangerous Goods Reports (DG):  When an incident takes place involving the loss or likely loss overboard of packaged dangerous goods, including those in freight containers, potable tanks, road and rail vehicles and shipborne barges, into the sea.
The primary report should contain message format fields A, B, C, M, Q, R, S, T, U of the standard reporting format. If the condition of the ship is such that there is danger of further loss of packaged dangerous goods into the sea, fields P and Q of the standard reporting format should be reported.
Harmful Substances Reports (HS):  When an incident takes place involving the discharge or probable discharge of oil (Annex I of MARPOL 73/78) or noxious liquid substances in bulk (Annex II of MARPOL 73/78).
In the case of actual discharge, the primary report should contain message format fields A, B, C, E, F, L, M, N, Q, R, S, T, U, X of the standard reporting format.
In the case of probable discharge, field B should also be included.
The Master of a ship engaged in an operation to render assistance or undertake salvage work should report, as far as practicable, format fields A, B, C, E, F, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, U and X.
Marine Pollutants Reports (MP):  In the case of loss or likely loss overboard of harmful substances in packaged form including those in freight containers, portable tanks, road and rail vehicles and shipborne barges, identified in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code as marine pollutants (Annex III of MARPOL 73/78).
In the case of actual discharges, the primary report should contain message format fields A, B, C, M, Q, R, S, T, U, X of the standard reporting format. In the case of probable discharge, field P should also be included.
Overdue AUSREP Reports:  AUSREP is a positive reporting system. If a PR or FR is not received by RCC Australia within 2 hours of the expected time, action is taken to ascertain the ship's whereabouts and confirm the safety of its crew.
What if a Report Cannot be Sent:  If for any reason a Master is unable to send a PR or FR, they should ensure that an attempt is made to pass a message through another ship or harbour or other shore authority as appropriate.
Action Taken by RCC Australia in the Event of an Overdue Report:  Action taken by RCC Australia, if report is not received as expected, will depend upon prevailing circumstances, but will generally include:
  1. internal checks to establish if your ship's report has been received by RCC Australia
  2. for Inmarsat equipped ships, attempts to contact the ship directly
  3. for Inmarsat-C equipped ships, an individual poll of the ship's terminal may be done to confirm the ship's position
  4. attempt to contact ship directly by calling on HF DSC to ship's MMSI
  5. an all station broadcast indicating concern for the safety of the ship due to non-receipt of the PR or FR
  6. extensive communication checks with overseas Coast Radio Stations, owners, Agents and other ships are carried out to trace the last sighting or contact with the ship
  7. at 21 hours overdue an Urgency Signal PAN PAN will be broadcast.
By the time 21 hours have elapsed, search planning will be in progress, and details of the ship included in NAVAREA X and facsimile weather broadcasts via VMC and VMW.
By the time the report is 24 hours overdue, positive SAR action will have been started to locate the ship. This action may include the launching of search aircraft.
Note:  The resources available for an air search decrease with distance from an Australian base.
Reports to AMVER:  While participating in AUSREP, Masters may also wish their reports to be forwarded for inclusion in the AMVER system operated by the United States Coast Guard. The words PASS TO AMVER should be added to format field Y of the Sailing Plan to indicate this requirement. The letters in the word AMVER must not be separated by spaces as this may disrupt the computer processing of the message.
RCC Australia will only forward AMVER reports to the US Coast Guard while a ship is active in the AUSREP system. Masters of ships outside the AUSREP area should make reports to AMVER by email addressed to amvermsg@amver.org or transmit Inmarsat-C message through TELENOR using Aussaguel LES (321) when in the Indian Ocean Region and Santa Paula LES (201) when in the Pacific Ocean Region to ensure the reports are received by AMVER.
Reports to Other Reporting Systems:  Reports from ships to other reporting systems (JASREP, etc.) will not be forwarded by RCC Australia. Ships are requested to pass these reports direct.
Assisting Ships:  Master of any ship engaged in, or requested to engage in, an operation to render assistance or undertake salvage should report, as far as practicable, fields A, B, C, E, F, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, U, X of the standard reporting format.
REEFVTS:  VTS reporting system in place for sensitive sea areas on the NE and east coasts of Australia.
Operator:  Townsville Operations Centre. T: +61 (7) 4726 3428, 1300 721 293. Fax: +61 (7) 4721 0633. reefvts@vtm.qld.gov.au
Manager, REEFVTS, c/o Maritime Safety Queensland, GPO Box 2595, Brisbane Qld 4001, Australia. reefvts@amsa.gov.au www.amsa.gov.au/
REEFVTS Area:  Described in Marine Order 63 (Vessel reporting systems) 2015. More detailed information on the REEFVTS Area can be found in charts No. AUS4620, AUS4635 and AUS490. Ships required to report to REEFVTS.
General Obligation:  The following categories of ships must report to REEFVTS:
  1. all ships LOA 50 m. or more;
  2. all oil tankers, gas carriers, chemical tankers or ships coming within the Irradiated Nuclear Fuel (INF) Code, including those LOA less than 50 m. and
  3. Ships which are towing or pushing, or being towed or pushed, where either of the ships belongs to category a) or category b), or where LOA of tow is 150 m. or more. LOA of the tow is measured from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow.
Voluntary Reporting:  Other vessels transiting the REEFVTS area may report on a voluntary basis as defined in this user guide.
Warships, Naval Auxiliaries and Government Ships: SOLAS Regulation V/11 does not apply to any warship, naval auxiliary, or any ship owned or operated by government; however SOLAS does state that ″such ships are encouraged to participate in ship reporting systems″.
The Australian Government fully supports this approach, and all ships of the Royal Australian Navy are encouraged to participate in REEFREP on a voluntary basis, along with other ships owned or operated by the Australian Government.
Master′s Responsibilities:  It is the responsibility of the Master while in the REEFVTS area to:
  1. follow the ship reporting requirements – these are described in Marine Order 63 (Vessel reporting systems) 2015 and outlined in this user guide
  2. confirm that information from REEFVTS has been received when asked to do so
  3. respond appropriately to all information, warnings, and advice given by REEFVTS
  4. keep a listening watch on REEFVTS VHF working channels
  5. make sure that the Inmarsat C terminal is logged into the Pacific Ocean Region (POR) at all times and
  6. as soon as possible, notify REEFVTS of any:
    1.  incident/accident affecting the vessel′s safety
    2.  incident/accident affecting safety of navigation
    3.  circumstance that may cause pollution
    4.  pollutants/containers/packages drifting
    5.  change to route plan.
Correct reporting is essential to enable REEFVTS to facilitate the safe navigation of ships through the REEFVTS area.
Failure to Report:  Any Master, or officer of the watch at the time, who fails to follow the required reporting procedures, or who deliberately transmits information which is incorrect, false or misleading, will have committed an offence and may be fined if convicted.
Section 216 of the Navigation Act 2012 makes it an offence for a person to fail to report the required information or provide false or misleading information. The penalty is up to 240 penalty units (presently AUS40,800) or a civil penalty of 2,400 penalty units (presently AUS408,000).
Mandatory Reporting Requirements:  A ship shall send the following reports to REEFVTS:
  1. Pre-Entry Position Report (PER)
  2. Final Report (FR).
Additional reports which must be sent to Reef VTS include:
  1. Route Deviation Report (DR)
  2. Intermediate Position Reports (IP)
  3. Defect Reports (IR).
Reports follow standard reporting formats as per IMO Resolution A.851 (20).
Reporting Codes: 
ID Message type (PER, FR, DR, IP or IR)
A Ship name, call sign and IMO No.
B Date, time (UTC)
C Current position (either the name of the mandatory reporting point, or the current position (Lat., Long.)
E True course
F Speed (planned speed of the ship in knots and tenths of a knot)
G Last Port of Call/Port Departing From (If entering the REEFVTS area for the first time state the
H Date, time (UTC) and point of entry to REEFVTS Area (either name of first mandatory reporting point entering the area, or the position (Lat., Long.) of entry
I Next port of call, name, call date, time (UTC)
J Pilot Company Details (pilot co. name)
K Date, time (UTC) and point of exit from area (either name of last mandatory reporting point leaving area, or the position (Lat., Long.) of exit
L Route information (recommended standard route plans, taking into account vessel draft (Reef VTS - Appendix A))
M Communication methods 1) Primary Inmarsat C details: Inmarsat Mobile No. (IMN), manufacturer and model 2) vessel′s satellite Tel. No.
O Draft, fore and aft and deepest draft, in m. and dm.
P Cargo on-board (give the normal name of cargo and state whether it is classified as hazardous (yes or no).
Note: If required, this information may be given by non-voice means before the first Reef VTS report.
Q Defects, damage, deficiencies or other limitations (Describe details of any damage, failure or breakdown:
i. collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding, cargo shifting;
ii. failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion plant, electrical generating system, essential shipboard navigational equipment)
R Pollution/dangerous goods lost overboard (brief details of the type of pollution (oil, chemicals and so on) or dangerous goods lost overboard. State the ship’s position)
U Ship type, LOA (m.) and g.t. (details of the ship, including ship type, LOA (m.), g.t.)
X Remarks (any additional information which would help the navigational safety of shipping in the REEFVTS Area (example, abnormal weather, faulty navigational aid, any Dangerous Goods (DG), Harmful Substances (HS) or Marine Pollution (MP) incident reports)
Pre-Entry Report (PER):  At least one hour before entering the Reef VTS area or departing from a port within the REEFVTS area the following information is to be given:
ID Information required Examples
ID message type
A 1 ship name, call sign, IMO No.
B 1 date and time (UTC)
C current Position
F speed (planned average)
G 1 last Port of Call/port departing from within the Reef VTS area
H 1 date, time (UTC), point of entry into REEF VTS
I 1 next Port of Call and ETA
K 1 date, time (UTC) and point of exit from area
L 1 route information (REEFVTS - Appendix A)
M 1 communication methods:
1. Inmarsat C details: Inmarsat Mob. No. (IMN), manufecturer & mode
2. Ship's satellite phone number.
O 1 draft
P 1 cargo on board p/bulk chemicals, dangerous goods
Q 1 defects, damage, deficiencies or other limitations (include details as required)
U 1 ship type,, LOA, g.t.
X remarks (give additional information including abnormal weather, dangerous goods etc.)
1 mandatory for PER
Final Report (PER):  Immediately on exiting the REEFVTS area or arriving at a port in the REEFVTS area the following information is to be given:
ID Information required Examples  
ID message type  
A 1 ship name, call sign, IMO No.  
B 1 date and time (UTC)  
K 1 date, time (UTC) and point of exit from area  
1 mandatory for FR  
DR:  If the ship needs to deviate from the Route Plan which was given to Reef VTS on entry to the REEFVTS area, this should be reported to REEFVTS before the deviation is made.
However, in situations where a deviation is made without much warning, a report should be sent to Reef VTS within 15 min. after the deviation made. At least one hour before send to REEFVTS before deviation is made, or within 15 min. after if deviation made without sufficient warning.
ID Information required Examples  
ID message type  
A 1 ship name, call sign, IMO No.  
B 1 date and time (UTC)  
C current position  
F speed (planned average)  
K 1 date, time (UTC) and point of exit from area  
L 1 route information (REEFVTS - Appendix A)  
O 1 draft  
1 mandatory for DR  
Intermediate Position Reports (IP):  Where REEFVTS advises that the ship′s position is being tracked by sensors then intermediate position reports at the mandatory reporting points are not required.
If the ship′s position is not being tracked by sensors, then a brief position report must be given as advised by REEFVTS. Send to REEFVTS before deviation is made, or within 15 min. after if deviation made without sufficient warning.
ID Information required Examples  
ID message type  
A 1 ship name, call sign, IMO No.  
B 1 date and time (UTC)  
C current position  
F speed (planned average)  
1 mandatory for IP  
IR:  Immediately if a ship suffers damage, failure or breakdown which affects the ship′s safety or Immediately if there is pollution or cargo lost overboard or Special reports as defined by IMO for incidents involving DG, HS or MP.
ID Information required Examples
ID message type
A 1 ship name, call sign, IMO No.
B 1 date and time (UTC)
C current position
F speed (planned average)
Q 1 defects, damage, deficiencies or other limitations (include details as required)
R pollution/dangerous goods lost overboard
U 1 ship type,, LOA, g.t.
X remarks
1 mandatory for PER
The requirement to report all marine incidents including defects and deficiencies using form AMSA 18 and form AMSA 19 remains.
Services Provided by Reef VTS:  Provides an information service (INS) and navigational assistance service (NAS) throughout the Reef VTS Area.
The information that Reef VTS uses comes from AIS, Radar, Automated Position Reporting (APR) via Inmarsat C and the route plans which ships have given to Reef VTS. Route plans are only as accurate as the information that is given in these reports and Masters are encouraged to take care that reports are correct.
Reef VTS may not know about all the hazards in the Reef VTS Area. If a ship encounters any hazard which is not already included in Maritime Safety Information (for example, a faulty navigational aid), it should advise REEFVTS.
Information Services:  An information service is defined by IMO Resolution A.857 (20) as a service to ensure that essential information becomes available in time for onboard navigational decision making.
Ship Encounter Information (SEI):  REEFVTS predicts ship encounters and sends this information to individual ships as SEI, usually through Inmarsat C messaging. SEI is specific for each individual vessel there are no general broadcasts.
Reef VTS advises individual ships of SEI:
  1. when the ship enters the REEFVTS area
  2. when there is new or changed traffic information
  3. in an update every 4–6 hrs., depending on the ship’s speed and,
  4. at any other time when the ship asks Reef VTS to provide it.
When a ship enters the REEFVTS area: A ship will receive SEI about predicted ship encounters and Maritime Safety Information (MSI) for the next six hours of its transit. The SEI lists the ship, the time and the location of the predicted encounter.
New or changed traffic information: REEFVTS monitors the transit of a ship to identify any significant changes to the traffic information which REEFVTS has previously given. An example of this could be when a new ship is identified or there is a change in ETA because of an increase or decrease in speed.
If there is new or changed traffic information, REEFVTS gives the ship updated traffic information for the next six hours, listing the predicted encounters as either:
  1. new
  2. changed or
  3. unchanged.
Traffic Information Updates: When a ship has transited the REEFVTS Area for a period of 4 - 6 hrs. (depending on speed) and there has been no new or changed traffic information, Reef VTS gives the ship updated traffic information for the next six hours as described above.
This update will also indicate if there are no predicted ship encounters for the next six hours. A ship may contact REEFVTS at any time to ask for an SEI update.
Receiving ship encounter information: REEFVTS provides SEI in different ways:
Electronic messages to ships:
Inmarsat C: Vessel shall give REEFVTS the make, model and IMN of the Inmarsat C terminal. Please make sure messages from REEFVTS are read when they are received. If a problem exists in receiving electronic messages then contact Reef VTS to arrange for SEI to be provided by VHF communications.
VHF Voice Communications: Ships shall keep a listening watch on the REEFVTS VHF working channels 11 and 14.
Maritime Safety Information (MSI):  :REEFVTS provides ships MSI that is relevant to their location and intended movement. If a ship encounters any hazard that may affect the navigational safety of other ships, it should contact REEFVTS.
MSI is sent to ships with the Ship Traffic Information. MSI is also given in broadcasts from JRCC Australia in the form of navigational warnings (Aus Coast Warnings).
Navigational Assistance Services:  Navigational assistance service is defined by IMO Resolution A.857 (20) as a service to assist onboard navigational decision-making and to monitor its effects. If REEFVTS has information which may help decision-making on board a ship, REEFVTS may contact that ship.
REEFVTS may contact a ship if it believes that the ship is heading into shallow water or deviating from a planned route.
A ship may receive Navigational Assistance Services in all areas within the REEFVTS area.
The Master remains responsible for the safe navigation of the ship at all times and should not rely on the availability of navigational assistance from REEFVTS.
Communication with REEFVTS:  Communication to be in English, using IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases. The means of communication can be using VHF (voice), Inmarsat C or other means.
VHF Radio:  REEFVTS can be contacted 24 hours a day on either Channel 11 or 14, call sign REEFVTS. Channel to be used will depend on the ship′s position as shown:
Lat. from Lat. to VHF  
(S) (S) Channel  
09° 00′ S 13° 30′ S 14  
13° 30′ S 18° 00′ S 11  
18° 00′ S 20° 00′ S 14  
20° 00′ S 22° 00′ S 11  
22° 00′ S 24° 30′ S 14  
VHF coverage is limited in some areas. If VHF communications cannot be established please communicate via Inmarsat C messaging in the areas between:
  1. Lads Passage and Fairway Channel
  2. Offshore from Gladstone in the SE area.
Inmarsat C:  REEFVTS will pay the cost of messages sent by Inmarsat C if the ship uses the special access code (SAC) 861 via POR LES 212.
When setting up the Inmarsat C address book, select either: ASCII or 7-bit or IA5 for data presentation or character code.
Inmarsat C terminals must be logged into the Pacific Ocean Region (POR).
Other Communications:  If for any reason a ship cannot communicate via Inmarsat C or the VHF working channel, the ship shall send the required information to Reef VTS in another way. The ship can use one of the following:
  1. T: +61 1300 721 293.
  2. F: +61 7 4721 0633.
  3. reefvts@vtm.qld.gov.au Ships will pay for the cost of these messages.
If a ship’s radio equipment fails and the ship cannot send the required reports to REEFVTS, the failure shall be recorded in the ship’s radio log book or the official log book.
Other Rules And Regulations:  Pilotage Areas In The Reef VTS Area:  Under Australian law ′regulated ships′ shall carry a licensed coastal pilot in sections of the Torres Strait and the Great Barrier Reef. Coastal pilots are licensed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. A ′regulated ship′ includes ships with LOA 70 m. or more, and all loaded oil tankers, chemical tankers and liquefied gas carriers (irrespective of length).
A coastal pilot is required for a tug and tow if either the towing vessel or the vessel being towed has LOA 70 m. or more,, regardless of the length of tow.
Masters must ensure that a pilot is on board the ship at all times in these areas (by embarking the pilot prior to entry and disembarking the pilot after exiting the pilotage area).
The Queensland Coastal Passage Plan (QCPP) has been developed as a guide for the conduct of coastal pilotage in these areas.
Further information on coastal pilotage and QCPP is available on the AMSA website www.amsa.gov.au
Great Barrier Reef – Inner Route, Hydrographers Passage and Whitsundays:  All regulated ships must carry a licensed coastal pilot when they are transiting through:
  1. the Inner Route of the Great Barrier Reef between Cape York (Lat. 10° 41′ S) and the vicinity of Cairns
  2. Roads (Lat. 16° 40′ S) or
  3. Hydrographers Passage or
  4. the Whitsundays.
Further information including the boundaries of these pilotage areas can be found in Marine Orders Part 54 (Coastal Pilotage (not reproduced)) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations (1983 (not reproduced)).
Torres Strait – Great North Eastern Channel:  All regulated ships with a draft of 8.0 m. or more must have a licensed coastal pilot on board when transiting Torres Strait Compulsory Pilotage Area A (bounded by 141° 50′ E and 142° 05′ E for ships moving eastward and between 142° 05′ E and 141° 51.70′ E for ships moving westward).
All regulated ships of any draft shall have a licensed coastal pilot on board when transiting Torres Strait.
Pilotage Area B (bounded by 142° 05′ E and 143° 22′ E for ships moving eastward, and 142° 05′ E and 143° 24′ E for ships moving westward).
The outermost boundaries have been established to ensure that a pilot boarding a ship entering the Torres Strait has sufficient preparation time on board prior to entering the respective pilotage area. Further information on coastal pilotage is available in Marine Order 54 (Coastal Pilotage (not reproduced)).
Torres Strait – UKC:  Management: AMSA has introduced a UKC Management (UKCM) System. The goal of this system is to improve the safety and efficiency of shipping through Torres Strait.
Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS), User Guide 17. This is a web-based system for enhancing the safety of vessels whose keel is close to the seabed in the shallow Torres Strait region.
The use of UKCM system is mandatory for all vessels with a draft of 8.0 m. to max. draft of 12.2 m. However, circumstances may warrant use of the UKCM system for vessels of lesser draft. Responsibility for safe navigation continues to reside with mariners (Masters and pilots) through the appropriate use of the UKCM System.
More information available on www.amsa.gov.au
Designated Shipping Areas in the Great Barrier:  Reef Marine Park:  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has put in place a Designated Shipping Area and General Use Zones within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning plan.
Ship operators need a permit from GBRMPA to navigate outside the Designated Shipping Area and General Use Zones.
A penalty of up to 2,000 penalty units (presently AUS340,000 (2017)) for an individual and 20,000 penalty units (presently AUS3,400,000 (2017)) for a body corporate applies if a ship is navigated outside the Designated Shipping Area and the General Use Zones without written permission from GBRMPA.
GBRMPA: T: +61 (7) 4750 0700. info@gbrmpa.gov.au www.gbrmpa.gov.au
Reporting to MASTREP:  Modernised Australian Ship Tracking and Reporting System (MASTREP) is a ship reporting system operated by AMSA and is part of the services offered by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Australia) in Canberra.
MASTREP is designed to minimise the reporting requirements on vessels by using AIS technology to provide positional advice to AMSA. There is no requirement in MASTREP to send Sailing Plans, Deviation Reports and Final Reports.
Marine Order 63 (Vessel reporting systems) 2015 defines the MASTREP area and lists the ships which must report to MASTREP. The system is mandatory for:
  1. foreign vessels from the arrival at its first port in Australia until its departure from its final port in Australia, and
  2. all regulated Australian vessels whilst in the MASTREP area.
There is no positive search and rescue watch maintained in MASTREP. It is a passive ship reporting system and does not involve shore to vessel communications for normal operation. The requirement to report all marine incidents including defects and deficiencies using form AMSA 18 and form AMSA 19 (not reproduced) remains. Additionally, Information Reports may be sent to JRCC Australia to provide advice relating to items not covered under AMSA 18 or 19 reporting requirements, for example floating navigational hazards.
Further information is provided in the MASTREP and Australian Mandatory Reporting Guide. Available from AMSA offices or the AMSA website www.amsa.gov.au
Pollution Reporting:  MARPOL 73/78 definition of nearest land prohibits operational discharges in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions.
The following should be reported to REEFVTS:
  1. any quantity of oil (including diesel fuel, petrol and oil products)
  2. any discharge from a ship of chemicals or chemical residues or
  3. garbage (food waste, glass, plastic etc.).
Information on reporting ship sourced pollution is available on:
  1. AMSA www.amsa.gov.au
  2. MSQ website www.msq.qld.gov.au/Marine-pollution
Appendix A - Standard Route Plans:  Inner Route:  There are three standard route plans for transiting the Reef VTS area by the inner route between Booby and Sandy Cape. The route plan applies in either direction of the transit and also applies to any portion of the inner route. The standard route plan should be communicated to REEFVTS by stating:
  1. inner route
  2. predefined route by communicating the ship′s draft of deep, moderate or shallow and
  3. name of any alternative legs intended to be taken that vary from the standard route (for example, shaded boxes) for that draft category.
For example, a ship plans to transit the inner route, moderate draft route via Varzin Passage (rather than using the standard route via Gannet Passage). This should be communicated to Reef VTS as ″Inner Route, Moderate Via Varzin″.
Great North East Channel:  Ships transiting the Great North East Channel enter or exit the REEFVTS area in three main locations. These are Booby, Bramble or Daru.
The standard route plan should be communicated to Reef VTS by stating:
  1. GNE Channel
  2. the first set of alternative legs intended to be taken and
  3. the second set of alternative legs intended to be taken.
For example, a ship enters at Booby and exits at Bramble, the first leg is via Varzin Passage and the second leg is via west of Coconut Island. This should be communicated to REEFVTS as ″GNE, via Varzin and west of Coconut Island″.
Deep Draft  
Standard Route Alternative  
Booby  
via Varzin Passage via Gannet Passage  
via east of Cairncross via west of Cairncross  
via Fairway Channel  
via Howicks  
via lizard Is./Palfrey  
Two Isles  
Gubbins West via Gubbins East  
via North Holborne via South Holborne  
Sandy Cape, Archer, Swain  
Moderate Draft  
Standard Route Alternative  
Booby  
via Gannet Passage via Varzin Passage  
via east of Cairncross via west of Cairncross  
via Fairway Channel  
via Miles via Howicks  
via Mid- Decapolis  
Two Isles  
Gubbins West via Gubbins East  
via North Holborne via South Holborne  
Sandy Cape, Archer, Swain  
Shallow Draft  
Standard Route Alternative  
Booby  
via Gannet Passage  
via east of Cairncross via west of Cairncross  
via Fairway Channel  
via Miles  
via Petherbridge via Mid- Decapolis  
Two Isles  
Gubbins West via Gubbins East  
via North Holborne via South Holborne  
Sandy Cape, Archer, Swain  
Appendix A – REEFVTS Chartlets:  The following chartlets show:
  1. details of the standard routes and alternatives
  2. VHF working channels
  3. routes where ships may receive both information and navigational assistance services and
  4. routes where ships may receive information services.
CARGO HANDLING FACILITIES: 
The following is part of Marine Order – Part 32.
5. Bulk Cargo:  Bulk cargo must not be loaded into or unloaded from a cargo space unless means are provided enabling persons to escape from that space in case of emergency.
6. Accesses, Openings, Ladders, Coamings and Passageways: 
6.1 Requirement for Access:  Loading or unloading must not be carried out in a cargo space the depth of which, measured from the level of the uppermost deck of the space to the bottom of the space, exceeds 1.5 m., unless:
  1. at least one unobstructed and safe means of access is maintained from the uppermost deck of the space to the level at which such loading or unloading is to take place; or
  2. where the access prescribed by (a) is unavoidably obstructed by cargo, safe access is provided by one portable ladder complying with Appendix 17.
6.2 Access to Include Opening and Ladder:  A means of access must:
  1. include an access opening and an adjacent permanent ladder, both situated clear of the hatchway through which cargo is loaded or unloaded; and
  2. be so located, that a person using it will not enter the space defined by vertical projection of the uppermost hatchway upwards or downwards.
6.3 Size of Access, Etc.:  An access opening must be:
  1. arranged to give an opening clear of all obstructions of not less than 600 mm. in length and breadth within the coaming and continuing to the deck below on an axis parallel to the ladder, provided that on a ship built before 1 August 1998, the clear opening need only be 550×550 mm.
  2. where necessary, provided with fittings so arranged, and located adjacent to the opening, as to afford a secure handhold and foothold to persons using the opening.
6.4 Cover to Access to be Capable of Being Secured Open:  A cover or closing appliance fitted to an access opening must be so arranged as to be capable of being secured in the open position.
6.5 Ladders:  6.5.1:  The permanent ladder adjacent to an access opening, must be:
  1. where the vertical distance between the upper surface of adjacent decks or 'tween deck and the bottom of the cargo space is not more than 6.0 m., either a vertical ladder or an inclined ladder complying with Appendix 17;
  2. where the vertical distance between the upper surfaces of adjacent decks or 'tween deck and the bottom of the cargo space is more than 6.0 m. an inclined ladder or ladders complying with Appendix 17; and
  3. so designed and arranged that the risk of damage from the cargo loading or discharging gear is minimised.
6.5.2:   In ships not having a 'tween deck, the uppermost 2.5 m. of a cargo space measured clear of overhead obstructions, and the lowest 6.0 m. may have vertical ladders complying with Appendix 17, provided the vertical extent of the inclined ladder or ladders connecting the vertical ladders is not less than 2.5 m.
6.6 Shaft Tunnels:  Shaft tunnels passing through cargo holds must be provided with ladders or steps at each end of the hold so that persons may cross the tunnels easily and safely.
6.7 Two Means of Access to be Provided in Certain Ships:  A cargo space in a ship built on or after 1 August 1998, other than a ship used exclusively as a bulk carrier or as a cellular container ship, must be provided with at least two  means of access. Where possible, these should be arranged diagonally within the hold, separated as far apart longitudinally, and as far apart athwartships, as possible. One such means of access must be maintained in compliance with 6.1 at all times during loading or unloading. A ship built before 1 August 1998 may alternatively comply with 6.2 of Appendix 7 of Issue 1 of this part.
6.8 Bulk Carrier Accesses:  6.8.1:  In a bulk carrier, a cargo space requiring personnel access for the purpose of loading or unloading must be provided with:
  1. a means of access, including an inclined ladder complying with 3 or 4 of Appendix 17; and
  2. in the case of a ship built on or after 17 November 1986, a second means of access.
6.8.2:  The second means of access referred to in 6.8.1(b):
  1. May be an inclined ladder complying with 3 or 4 of Appendix 17; or
  2. May be formed, regardless of the depth of the cargo space, from a series of staggered vertical ladders complying with 2 of Appendix 17 linking platforms complying with 6 of Appendix 17.
6.9 Access in Cellular Container Ships:  In a cellular container ship, only one means of access to a cargo space is required. This may utilise lengths of staggered vertical ladder complying with 2 of Appendix 17 fitted between adjacent transverse webs or stringers that serve as working platforms or passageways within the cargo space, provided that:
  1. no ladder exceeds 6.0 m. in length; and
  2. the passageways between ladders are not less than 550 mm. in width.
6.10 Coamings:  6.10.1:  Where a coaming exceeding 450 mm. in height above the deck surface is fitted to an access opening, steps, cleats or rungs must be fitted inside the coaming to form a continuation of the access ladder:
a) To within 450 mm. from the top of the coaming
b) Providing a foothold:
i. not less than 300 mm. in width
ii. with tread depth in the case of a step, and a clearance from the coaming in the case of a rung or cleat, of not less than 150 mm.
c) Spaced at equal intervals corresponding to the steps or rungs of the access ladder
d) So constructed as to prevent slipping.
6.10.2:  Where a coaming exceeds 900 mm. in height above the deck, steps or cleats must be provided outside the coaming suitable for use by a person climbing over the coaming to enter or leave the hatch.
Grain Cargoes:  Guidelines for Grain Cleanliness Surveys:  On arrival, a vessel fixed to load grain must have holds clean, dry and free from residues of previous cargoes, free from insect infestation, and be in all respects ready to load. Surveyors from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) will board, together with charterers' and other surveyors to check the condition of the ship.
Ships' crews cannot be used to clean holds after arrival, so every opportunity must be taken to prepare the holds at a previous port, or en route, to avoid the use of costly Australian labour.
Essential Preparation for Loading:  Special attention should be paid to the removal of all loose scale and rubbish, and the cleanliness of other obstructions, including underdeck girders and the underside of steel hatch covers, which might harbour insects or the remnants of previous cargoes. Scale should be removed by high pressure water jets or chipping and scraping. If jets are used to remove scale, or areas chipped and scraped are painted over, ample time must be allowed for water to dry or paint fumes to disperse completely. Loose scale or previous cargo residues must not be painted over.
AMSA surveyors will pay particular attention, in addition to the stability requirements, to the satisfactory operation of hold bilges, and will require each section to be tested to demonstrate its efficiency. Following a satisfactory test, each bilge well should have its perforated plate cover put in place, with a single layer of burlap over it to prevent grain getting into the bilge well. They will also require hold lighting to be switched off and the fuses removed, to prevent any possibility of the lights being left on and the grain being heated by the lights sufficiently to ignite it.
AQIS surveyors will pay particular attention to residues of previous grain cargoes, and to insect infestation. If such are found, the ship will probably be required to be sprayed or fumigated. The latter will normally require the crew to be accommodated ashore until the vessel is certified safe for them to return. This may be as long as 48 hours.
AMSA surveyors will require to be satisfied that the ship will have sufficient stability to carry the grain safely to her final destination. Form GA, on which the fully detailed calculations should be shown, is available from AMSA offices. This should be completed in detail. Similar forms from other grain exporting countries, such as the National Cargo Bureau's form in the USA, are acceptable in lieu of Form GA. Masters are warned that good quality Australian wheat stows well, and stowage factors considerably below those normally expected are frequently encountered. AMSA surveyors will also require to be satisfied that the ship will not be overstressed during loading or on voyage. If a ship is loading a full cargo at one port, with only one or two slack hatches, there will normally be little difficulty in doing this, and reference to an approved grain loading condition will usually demonstrate compliance with the longitudinal strength requirements. However, when a ship loads at two ports, the requirements may be difficult, and for some ships, impossible, to satisfy. Where doubt exists regarding the stresses that the cargo may place on the ship, surveyors may require detailed calculations to be made.
BALLAST:  Ballast Water Advisory Information: 
District T: +61  
Sydney, NSW: (2) 9364 7222  
Melbourne, VIC: (3) 9264 6777  
Brisbane (SE), QLD: (7) 3246 8755  
Cairns (far North), QLD: (7) 4030 7800  
Darwin, NT: (8) 8999 2311  
Perth, WA: (8) 9311 5333  
Adelaide, S:A (8) 8305 9753  
Hobart, TAS: (3) 6233 3352  
Canberra, ACT: (2) 6272 5189  
International Shipping:  Ballast water must be managed to minimise the risk of marine pest introductions. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources requires vessels to manage their ballast water in accordance with AQIS requirements.
Domestic Shipping:  Harbour Master's approval must be obtained before ballast water being discharged within port waters. Such approval may be granted if acceptable to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Ballast Water:  The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources deems all salt water from ports and coastal waters outside Australia's territorial sea to present a high risk of introducing exotic marine pests into Australia. The discharge of high-risk ballast water from ships is prohibited anywhere inside Australia's territorial sea.
Ballast water of the following types is deemed by the Department to be low risk:
  • fresh water from any source: relative density 1002 or less at 15°C and 1000 hPa atmospheric pressure
  • ballast water that has been exchanged at an approved location (mid-ocean) by an approved method
  • ballast water of which at least 95% was taken up in mid-ocean
  • ballast water of which at least 95% was taken up inside Australia's territorial sea.
Sediments from ballast tanks must not be discharged into Australian waters.
Full Ballast Water Exchange at Sea: 
Sequential exchange (empty/refill) method
Flow through method
Dilution method.
Each method has been tested and demonstrated results achieving the necessary 95% or better volumetric exchange of high risk ballast water. Ballast exchanges must be conducted outside the Australian territorial sea.
It is also recommended that ballast exchanges be conducted as far away as possible from any land mass and in water of least depth 200 m.
Sequential Exchange (Empty/Refill):  Method involves emptying tanks (one or more high risk ballast water at sea before refilling them with clean water from the deep ocean). It is important to ensure that the ballast mix achieved by this method contains no more than 5% high risk ballast water. Not all ships are able to empty ballast tanks at sea due to considerations of stability, stress and sloshing.
Masters should verify that their ship's design parameters for stress, stability and sloshing will not be compromised at any stage of a planned sequential exchange operation. The reduction in positive stability caused by free surface effect in slack tanks during sequential exchanges must be taken into account by mariners using this method.
Flow-Through Method:  At least 300% of a tank's maximum capacity of clean water from the deep ocean must be pumped into each tank to achieve an acceptable 95% volumetric exchange. Even when, at the start of a flow-through operation, a tank is only partially filled with high-risk ballast water, at least 300% of the tank's maximum capacity must still be pumped into the tank to comply with Australian requirements. Capacity is measured from when water begins to flow into a tank. In the case of a tank that is not completely full at the commencement of a flow-through operation, tank's full capacity still starts to be measured from when pumping starts, not from when the tank starts to overflow.
Dilution Method:  Some vessels, mainly tankers, are fitted with extra piping/pumping arrangements. On some of these vessels, ballast may be pumped in through one side of a tank and out through the other side simultaneously (pumping in/pumping out, as opposed to pumping in/simply overflowing out). This type of flushing, using two pumps is acceptable. As for flow-through, at least 300% of each tank's maximum capacity must be flushed through for an acceptable exchange.
Australian State Government Requirements:  The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources does not regulate the management of ballast water taken up within Australia's territorial sea and domestic ports. Victoria has additional requirements for the management of Australian sourced domestic ballast water which are enforced by the Environment Protection Authority (Victorian State Government) under the Environment Protection Act 1970.
Victoria's requirements regulate the management of ballast water taken up within Australia's territorial sea (12 n.m. off the Australian coast) and within domestic ports. EPA Victoria requires all ships intending to visit a Victorian port to submit a ballast water report form and log detailing the origin of all ballast water on board. No domestic ballast water discharge is permitted in Victorian waters unless approval has been granted from EPA in writing.
If domestic ballast water is intended to be discharged within Victorian waters (12 n.m. off the coast) and ports, it must be managed in accordance with the Victorian requirements which can be viewed and downloaded from the Victorian Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) website www.epa.vic.gov.au/
EPA Victoria maintains a 24-hour help line for ballast water enquiries. Tel: +61 (3) 9695 2547.
AQIS continues to be responsible for the regulation of foreign sourced ballast water in Victorian ports. For every vessel visiting Australia, it is the Master's responsibility to ascertain if any State/Territory Government ballast water management requirements (over and above the AQIS requirements) need to be met for calls at any and every Australian port on vessel's itinerary.
Contact:  Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Seaports Program, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601. T: +61 (2) 6272 3933. www.daff.gov.au www.agriculture.gov.au
Ballast Water Management:  The IMO International Guidelines for Preventing the Introduction of Unwanted Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens from Ships' Ballast Water and Sediment Discharges apply to vessels entering Australian ports. Similar Australian Ballast Water Guidelines also apply for international shipping. Masters should also note that vessels may be subject to inspection by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.
POLLUTION:  MARPOL Convention requirements to be strictly adhered to.
Vessels Less Than 400 G.t. or Coastal Voyages:  The Western Australian Environmental Protection Act 1986 , Environmental Protection (Unauthorised Discharges) Regulations 2004 , apply to vessels less than 400 g.t. or any vessel on Australian coastal voyages. The DEC advises that sewage, treated or otherwise, is presently considered a prohibited discharge and is not permitted in Fremantle Ports' waters.
Vessels are required to report any accidental discharge in contravention of the Environmental Protection (Unauthorised Discharges) Regulations to the DEC and Fremantle Ports.
Oil, Bilge Water and Oily Water:  The maximum penalty in the port of Fremantle for oil pollution is AUD50,000 for individuals and AUD250,000 for a body corporate.
Sediment and Grey Water:  The disposal of sediment and grey water within port limits is prohibited.
Sewage:  Untreated sewage may only be discharged at a distance of more than 12.0 n.m. from the nearest land provided that sewage held in holding tanks is not discharged instantaneously, but at a moderate rate when the ship is proceeding at a speed of not less that 4 knots. Comminuted and disinfected sewage may only be discharged at a distance of more than 3.0 n.m. from the nearest land provided the system meets technical standards set by the IMO.
Treated Sewage:  Effluent from an IMO approved sewage treatment plant may be discharged at any location provided:
a) vessel can demonstrate that it has a IMO certified sewage treatment unit on board that has been approved by AMSA. A copy of approval certification would be required
b) vessel can provide results of discharge effluent quality analysis for a sample collected within the past 30 days. Samples must be analysed by a NATA approved laboratory and meet the necessary lower limits of reporting
c) results of analysis are below the effluent quality standards as per table
Parameter Units Certificate Design Criteria
Suspended Solids mg/L < 50
Faecal Coliform MPN/CFU per 100 ml < 250
BOD mg/L < 50
Residual Chlorine mg/L > 50
d) effluent does not produce visible floating solids or cause discoloration of the surrounding water. Sewage retained in holding tanks on the ship can be collected by an approved and licensed waste contractor when the vessel is in port.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority may board the vessel and inspect the unit and request to sight a copy of certification.
Requirements for Reporting Pollution Incidents: 
1. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973/78 (MARPOL) , Protocol I of the Convention contains comprehensive requirements and recommendations for ship reporting of incidents involving harmful substances. The purpose of these new reporting obligations and guidelines is to enable the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to be informed quickly and more accurately about actual or potential accidental spillages or cargo losses as well as illegal discharges so that immediate action may be taken.
2. Reports must be made when an incident involves:
a) a discharge or probable discharge of oil, or noxious liquid substances carried in bulk, resulting from damage to the ship or its equipment, or for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea (Harmful Substances Report)
b) a discharge or probable discharge of harmful substances in packaged form, including those in freight containers, portable tanks, road and rail vehicles and ship-borne barges (Marine Pollutants Report)
c) damage, failure or breakdown of a ship of 15 m. in length or above which:
i. affects the safety of the ship, including but not limited to collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding and cargo shifting or
ii. results in impairment of the safety of navigation, including but not limited to, failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion plant, electrical generating system, and essential shipborne navigational aids or
d) a discharge, during the operation of the ship, of oil or noxious liquid substances in excess of the quantity or instantaneous rate permitted under the present Convention.
3. These measures seek to ensure early notification of pollution or threat of pollution. The deciding factor in initiating a report is not so much the distance from the coastline (as in the past) as the possibility of harm to the coastline or territorial sea of a country. Consequently, Australian vessels trading overseas should be aware that a POLREP must be made directly to the Government of any country affected or likely to be affected by a pollution incident.
4. For incidents affecting or likely to affect Australian interests, reports should continue to be made to the Manager, Marine Environment Protection Services in the Australian Maritime Safety Authority through the AusSAR.
Pollution Report: 
5. POLREP to the Manager, Marine Environment Protection Services in the Authority, Canberra:
Harmful Substances Report:  (Oil and noxious liquid substances)
Sections of the ship report form which are inappropriate should be omitted from the report.
A. Ship: Name, call sign/ship station identity and flag
B. Date and time of event
C. Position: Latitude and longitude or
D. Position: True bearing and distance
E. True Course
F. Speed in knots and tenths of knots
L. Route information: Intended track
M. Radio communications: Full names of stations
N. Time of next report
P. 1 1. Type of oil or noxious liquid substances on board
2. UN number(s)
3. Pollution category (A, B, C or D) for noxious liquid substances
4. Names of manufacturers of substances or consignee or consignor
5. Quantity
Q. 1. Condition of the ship, as relevant
2. Ability to transfer cargo/ballast/fuel
R. 1. Type of oil or the correct technical name of the noxious liquid discharged into the sea
2. UN number(s)
3. Pollution category (A, B, C or D) for noxious liquid substances
4. Names of manufacturers of substances or consignee or consignor
5. An estimate of the quantity of substances
6. Whether lost substances floated or sank
7. Whether loss is continuing
8. Cause of loss
9. Estimate of the movement of the discharge or lost substances giving current conditions if known
10. Estimate of the surface area of the spill
S. Weather conditions
T. Name, address, telex and telephone number of the ship's owner and representative
U. Ship size and type
X. 1. Actions being taken with regard to the discharge and movement of the ship
2. Assistance or salvage efforts which have been requested or which have been provided by others
3. The Master of an assisting or salvaging ship should report the particulars of the action undertaken or planned.
1 In the case of a probable discharge only.
Marine Pollutants Report:  (Harmful substances in packaged form)
A. Ship: Name, call sign/ship station identity and flag
B. Date and time of event
C. Position: Latitude and longitude or
D. Position: True bearing and distance
M. Radio communications: Full names of stations
P. 1 1. Correct technical name or names of goods
2. UN number(s)
3. IMO hazard class(es)
4. Names of manufacturers of substances or consignee or consignor
5. Types of packages including identification marks (specify whether portable tank, freight container or other, include official registration marks and numbers assigned to the unit)
6. An estimate of the quantity and likely condition of goods
Q. 1. Condition of the ship
2. Ability to transfer cargo/ballast/fuel
R. 1. Correct technical name or names of goods
2. UN number(s)
3. IMO hazard class(es)
4. Names of manufacturers of goods or consignee or consignor
5. Types of packages including identification marks (specify whether portable tank, freight container or other, include official registration marks and numbers assigned to the unit)
6. An estimate of the quantity and condition of goods
7. Whether lost goods floated or sank
8. Whether loss is continuing
9. Cause of loss
S. Weather conditions
T. Names, address, telex and telephone number of the ship's owner and representative
U. Ship size and type
X. 1. Action being taken with regard to the discharge and movement of the ship
2. Assistance or salvage efforts that have been requested or that have been provided by others
3. The Master of an assisting or salvaging ship should report the particulars of the action undertaken or planned.
1 In the case of a probable discharge only.
Also see Ballast
EMERGENCY RESPONSE CENTRE:  Marine Incidents:  Under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 , a marine incident is classified as an event causing or involving:
  1. the loss of a person from a ship
  2. the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person caused by a ship's operations
  3. the loss or presumed loss or abandonment of a ship
  4. a collision with a ship
  5. the stranding of a ship
  6. material damage to a ship
  7. material damage caused by a ship's operations
  8. danger to a person caused by a ship's operations
  9. danger of serious damage to a ship
  10. danger of serious damage to a structure caused by a ship's operations.
Marine Incident Reporting:  A marine incident must be reported to a shipping inspector within 48 hours of the incident, unless there is a reasonable excuse.
The report must be made on the approved form. These forms are also available from Department of Transport. This form is used to report all incidents, no matter the type of ship involved.
The form may be completed with the assistance of a shipping inspector to ensure the information is accurate, unbiased and as reliable as possible. It is important that the form is filled in completely, with the incident described in as much detail as possible. The shipping inspector who receives the form will check to ensure it has been correctly completed.
If the initial report is not made on the approved form, the Owner or Master must make a further report to a shipping inspector on the approved form as soon as possible. The Master would normally report a marine incident but the Owner would report if the Master, for some justifiable reason, was not able to make the report. Each marine incident reported will be investigated by a shipping inspector and the results of the investigation reported in the approved form.
Section 124 of the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 requires ships Masters to assist if a marine incident involves two or more ships. The Master of each ship involved in the marine incident must to the extent that he can do so without danger to his ship or persons on board his ship:
  1. give the other ship involved in the incident, its Master and persons on board the ship the necessary assistance to save them from danger caused by the marine incident
  2. stay by the other ship until no further assistance is required
  3. give the Master of the other ship reasonable particulars adequate to identify the ship and its owner
Section 129 of the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 requires the Master of a ship to promptly report dangers to navigation including, an abandoned ship, a damaged aid to navigation, severe weather conditions and so on.
Marine Incident Reporting – AMSA:  Under section 19 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 any incident involving a ship in Australian waters including:
  1. breakage of gear or injury to any person during cargo work
  2. damage or defect to ship, machinery or equipment
  3. peril or a close quarters situation
  4. stranding or disappearance
  5. death, serious injury or a dangerous occurrence
  6. a birth.
Must be reported to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) using form 19 Incident Alert within four hours of the incident occurring. A detailed incident report must be submitted to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Canberra on AMSA form 19 Incident Report within 72 hours of the incident occurring.
Reports are to be submitted by F: +61 (2) 6230 6868 or 1800 622 153 or email: Reports@amsa.gov.au
Complete details of these requirements are available on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website.
Procedures Subsequent to Serious Marine Incidents:  In the case of a vessel grounding, or if structural damage has occurred, the vessel is to be removed to a position of safety. Immediate advice from the Regional Harbour Master should be sought in this instance.
The vessel is to be surveyed by the appropriate authority (Australian Maritime Safety Authority or classification society) to ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel before it leaves port limits.
Port Community Responsibilities:  As a responsible member of the maritime community, any person witnessing an incident which was, or is capable of, becoming an emergency is obliged to report the matter to the Regional Harbour Master's office and/or the emergency response agencies of Police, Fire or Ambulance.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority requests pilots, and port authority officers and others to notify them of suspected deficiencies on ships.
SECURITY/GANGWAY:  Mainland Ports:  Safe means of access regulations for boarding vessels must comply with Marine Orders issued by AMSA. Ship's crew required to provide a watchman for the gangway.
TIME:  With a land mass close to 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia is the world's sixth largest country and is divided into three separate time zones as follows:
  1. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 10 hours (UTC +10), and includes Queensland, New South Wales (except Broken Hill), Victoria, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory
  2. Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 9.5 hours (UTC +9.5), and includes South Australia, Northern Territory and the town of Broken Hill in western New South Wales
  3. Australian Western Standard Time (AWST), equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 8 hours (UTC +8), and includes Western Australia.
Daylight Saving Time:  Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year. In Australia, Daylight Saving is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory. Daylight Saving is not observed in Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia. Daylight Saving Time begins at 0200 hours on the first Sunday in October, when clocks are put forward one hour. It ends at 0200 hours (which is 0300 hours Daylight Saving Time) on the first Sunday in April, when clocks are put back one hour.
LOCAL HOLIDAYS:  1 January (New Year's Day); 26 January (Australia Day); Good Friday; Easter Sunday; Easter Monday; second Monday in March (Adelaide Cup Day); 25 April (Anzac Day); 1 May (Labour Day); second Monday in June (Queen's Birthday); first Tuesday in November (Melbourne Cup Day); 25 December (Christmas Day); 26 December (Boxing Day).
CUSTOMS:  At first port of call in Australia, each crew member is allowed duty free 250 cigarettes (or equivalent in tobacco products), one bottle of spirits (not exceeding 1.125 litres).
REPATRIATION:  See Documents
IDENTIFICATION CARDS:  MSIC:  Whilst in a maritime security zone, a person shall display a valid MSIC or shall be escorted by a holder of a valid MSIC. Ships' crew members without a valid MSIC are not permitted to enter or remain in a maritime security zone without an escort. A crew member is permitted to disembark the vessel for the purpose of reading vessel's draft or checking mooring lines without an escort; however, the crew member must remain within the wharf apron at all times while performing these duties.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development requires that any visitors accessing port facilities must have a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC). www.infrastructure.gov.au
Regulatory Changes MSIC Scheme:  As of 1 December 2010, the following enhancements to the MSIC scheme took effect:
  1. Background checks are conducted every two years with cards being valid for up to four years.
  2. A new offence to prosecute MSIC holders, who fail to advise their MSIC issuing body or AusCheck if they have been convicted of a disqualifying offence, or convicted of any other maritime security relevant offence, and sentenced to imprisonment for that offence.
  3. A new offence to prosecute MSIC issuing bodies that fail to suspend an MSIC at the direction of the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, or fail to cancel the MSIC, if they have been advised by AusCheck that the holder is no longer eligible for a card due to criminal offences.
  4. This is in addition to the expansion of the list of offences that may preclude a person from eligibility for an MSIC to cover additional offences such as murder, use of prohibited explosives, making a bomb hoax, kidnapping and bribing a government official, which came into effect on 1 July 2010.
For further information, please see the MSIC fact sheets at infrastructure.gov.au
For any enquiries regarding the MSIC scheme, email idsecurity@infrastructure.gov.au
Also see Documents