Quarantine (AQIS) requirements

Australia’s remoteness created an environment unlike any other on Earth. Quarantine helps protect it and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is responsible for maintaining quarantine control over visiting superyachts and small craft. When entering Australia you must go to a proclaimed first port of entry where a quarantine officer will meet you on arrival. As AQIS is a fully cost recovered government department, clearance of your vessel will incur the appropriate AQIS fees and charges for the service time taken to inspect and remove restricted goods of quarantine interest from the vessel (e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables). You must declare for inspection all food, plant and animal material and of course any live animals on arrival.

Vessels over 25m long must submit to AQIS a Quarantine Pre-Arrival Report (QPAR) 12-48hrs prior to arrival and are required to hold a valid de-rat or de-ratting exemption certificate.

Ship’s Stores and food items
Some products may require TREATMENT by AQIS to make them safe, as some items may constitute a quarantine risk due to pest and disease risks associated with them. Items requiring treatment will be at the owners expense and/or the owner may elect to have those items not meeting quarantine entry requirements surrendered for destruction by AQIS.

Some of these goods may be bonded onboard the vessel under quarantine seal provided they are shelf stable. The bonding of ship’s stores means that all relevant items are subject to quarantine control, while the vessel is in Australian ports or waters and will be sealed in a vessel’s locker and must not be used or accessed. They will be released back to you at your final port of call prior to you leaving for an overseas port.

The following list of goods are generally allowed entry into Australia after inspection, provided there is no evidence of pests or disease. In some circumstances these goods may be bonded on board the vessels:

  • herbs and spices (excluding cloves and whole nutmegs)
  • dried fruit (without seeds) and vegetables
  • biscuits, cakes, confectionery
  • noodles and rice
  • fresh fish fillets (excluding salmon and trout)
  • teas, coffee, juices and other drinks
  • carvings and other wooden artefacts
  • dried flower arrangements
  • some shells and coral (Customs prohibitions may relate to these items)
  • canned foods not containing pork or dairy products
  • jam, jellies and conserves (except those containing egg, coconut or Kaya jam)
  • New Zealand dairy products
  • commercially finished leather personal apparel
  • commercially produced tanned sheepskins from New Zealand
  • spun and woven wool personal apparel
  • live animals (including dogs, cats, birds etc) - AQIS permission to bring animals into Australia on board sea vessels should be obtained prior to entry.

The following goods you cannot bring into Australia, unless an entry permit has been issued by AQIS prior to arrival:

  • Goods that may pose a Foot and Mouth Disease risk, includes items such as dairy products and meat - beef, lamb, pork, goat, etc. (including prepared meals containing meat and dairy products)
  • milk and dairy products (excluding those from New Zealand)
  • handicrafts and souvenirs that contain or are made from seed
  • popping corn and raw nuts
  • eggs and egg products
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • dried beans (e.g. pinto beans, black-eyed beans etc.)
  • reptiles and insects
  • uncanned meat and all pork products
  • salmon and trout products - ask about special import conditions (canned salmon is allowed).
  • live plants (includes cuttings, roots, bulbs, corms, rhizomes and stems)
  • biological materials
  • deer horn/velvet (excluding New Zealand deer horn/velvet)
  • edible bird’s nest
  • soil and sand

Ship’s Pets
If you have animals on board they will be subject to certain quarantine conditions for their control and confinement during your stay in Australia and your vessel will remain under quarantine surveillance during this time. The owner will be responsible for all AQIS fees and charges relating to the retention of animals on board the vessel, which may include quarantine surveillance, if non-compliance with quarantine requirements are detected during the vessels stay in Australian ports or waters. For more specific information on Ship’s Pets, please refer to the AQIS website - Information for vessels less than 25 metres - Ship’s Pets Arriving in Australia on Board International Yachts.

Ballast Water
It is an AQIS requirement that internationally sourced ballast water must be managed by an AQIS approved method if it is to be discharged in Australian ports and/or waters.

Vessels that carry seawater as ballast are required to submit an AQIS Ballast Water Log Form.

Vessels that carry fresh water as ballast are not required to submit this form or perform a mid-ocean ballast water exchange at sea prior to arrival in port.

Vessels imported into Australia
Yachts that are sailed into Australia and are intended for importation may be subject to fumigation due to the risks associated with termites.

All yachts and motorboat vessels require treatment in an overseas country (off shore) prior to arriving in Australia, alternatively they may be treated on arrival, under AQIS supervision. The treatment is mandatory unless a clear and well-documented vessel travel history can be presented to AQIS and it is clear that the vessel did not travel to high-risk locations during the vessel’s voyage to Australia, or an acceptable treatment certification is presented to AQIS on arrival.

If fumigation is considered necessary by AQIS, all costs associated with the fumigation of the vessel will be at the owner’s expense.

For more information on Australia’s quarantine and inspection requirements, please contact the AQIS office at your intended first port of entry or visit our website at www.aqis.gov.au/shipping

Your compliance with the above requirements, and with any other Government controls, will ensure that your involvement with Customs and AQIS is kept to a minimum.

The Maritime Awareness Kit, to aid quarantine clearance for commercial vessel masters and shipping agents on arrival in Australian ports, is available at www.aqis.gov.au