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By No owner — last modified Nov 13, 2017 10:45 AM

 Cocos Keeling - Formalities

Clearance

Prior to Arrival

The master of a vessel arriving in Australia is required by law to give notice of impending arrival at least 96 hours before arrival to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Penalties may apply for failure to do so.

You can give 96 hours notice by either:

  • Sending an email to yachtreport@border.gov.au
  • Sending a fax to +61 2 6275 5078
  • Phone on +61 2 6246 1325

  • You will need to provide:

  • the name of your craft
  • the craft's country and port of registration
  • your intended first port of arrival
  • your estimated arrival time
  • the last four ports you visited
  • the details of people on board including name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  • details of any illness or disease recently encountered
  • if you have any animals on board
  • if you have any firearms on board

  • http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Ente/Avia/Maritime/Let-us-know-youre-coming

    All customs duties are carried out by the Australian Federal Police on Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

    On Approach

    When approaching the 12 mile limit, vessels should call "Cocos Police" on VHF Channel 20 advising them of your arrival.

    If you do not have an AIS transponder, it is possible you will be called up by a Border Control vessel before reaching the 12 mile limit as this area is regularly patrolled. It is still necessary to call "Cocos Police" on VHF Channel 20.

    Be prepared to answer questions about location, ETA to the anchorage, number of persons / weapons / animals on board etc. There is a 24/7 watch on Channel 20, keep calling every 30 minutes until answered.

    Arrival

    Incoming vessels must fly the Q flag and anchor in the lagoon behind Direction Island. Contact the Police on Channel 20 once anchored and they will advise you on clearance procedures. No one on board should leave the vessel nor should there be any contact with anyone until clearance is completed. The buoys at Direction Island are not suitable for yachts, please anchor.

    Most of the time, immigrations/customs officials will visit the yacht. However, you may be directed to visit the police yourself to conduct clearance procedures, which may require a ferry ride to West Island. The officials may be found near the airstrip.

    Warning: Cocos Keeling entrance
    The GPS position of the entrance into the lagoon, west of Direction Island, is reported not to accord with most charts, both paper and electronic (However, see comment below). Entrance to the lagoon of South Keeling is between Horsburgh Island and Direction Island. The entrance pass to the atoll is deep, wide, and well lit.

    There are now (unlit) buoys leading into the yacht anchorage at Direction Island. Anyone arriving in the dark might be best advised to anchor in a convenient area outside the yacht anchorage until daylight. Be aware that the supply ship often arrives at night and will anchor in the area of the entrance range lights.

    Formalities

    Customs, Immigration and quarantine are on West Island. Usually, a single police officer will come by in a small boat and will do the quarantine, immigration and customs clearances. However, out of season you may well have to get to West Island yourself, using the very limited ferry service or your own dinghy. Port fees need to be paid on Home Island.

    Last updated June 2016.

    Immigration

    The same strict immigration requirements apply as in mainland Australia and no one is allowed to arrive without a valid Australian visa, except holders of New Zealand passports. Visas are usually available online.

    See the Australian Department of Immigration & Border Protection website for more information.

    The quarantine requirements are not the same as for the Australian mainland and are very relaxed.

    Yachts travelling to or from Cocos Keeling and the mainland of Australia are deemed to have not left Australia if their trip is within 30 days of departure from the mainland Australia or these islands. Persons on board these yachts must ensure that their visa covers the entire period of their stay including travel time between the mainland of Australia and these islands.

    Last updated June 2016.

    Customs

    Firearms must be declared on arrival and must not leave the vessel without a permit.

    Restricted goods may be bonded on board.

    Quarantine:
    Fresh eggs, their containers and some meat products may be confiscated, or sealed on board. If a yacht has animals on board, it must anchor outside the quarantine buoy at Direction Island. Animals must not be taken ashore.

    Under the new quarantine regime for the Indian Ocean Territories, all fresh fruit and vegetables may only be imported from AUSTRALIA if free of pests and diseases. No fresh fruit and vegetables is allowed to be imported from other countries including CHRISTMAS ISLAND. The products must also be clean and free of soil or other contamination. Quarantine officers will be required to inspect fresh fruit and vegetables on arrival.

    However, the quarantine requirements are much more relaxed than for the Australian mainland and, in practice, it is unlikely that any food will be confiscated.

    There is no longer any facilities for disposing of waste or garbage in Cocos Keeling and cruisers must take it all away with them.

    Last updated June 2016.

    Biosecurity section of the Department of Agriculture
    The organisation tasked with protecting the unique bio-diversity of the islands.

    Fees

    There are no charges for Immigration, Customs or Quarantine. But the port of Cocos Keeling charges an anchoring fee of AU$10/day or AU$50/week. Proof of payment, from the Shire of Home Island, is needed for clearance. Both credit cards and cash are accepted and the fees are payable at the Shire Office on Home Island.

    Last updated July 2016.

    Restrictions

    Spearfishing, netting or rod fishing in 'The Rip' is strictly prohibited

    Spearfishing or cleaning fish is not permitted on the south-east corner of Direction Island around the anchorage area, or anywhere near a beach because of the danger of attracting sharks.

    Lighting a fire directly in-front of the main shelter is strictly prohibited, as children and adults frequent this area.

    Local Customs

    When visiting Home Island, everyone should wear appropriate clothing to respect the community's dress standards.

    Women and men are asked to wear modest outfits which cover the shoulders and upper legs.

    Share |
    Noah D.
    Noah D. says:
    Nov 12, 2017 01:59 PM

    Posted on behalf of Paul Stephens aboard s/v Tin Tin:

    Getting to West island to clear in/out was less easy especially as there was no consensus on the ferry timetable. I have since laminated one and attached to the notice board. There is a ferry from Direction to Home island on Saturday a.m. at 10:00 but the connections don't really work to get back again. So it's best to dinghy the 1.5nm to Home island giving the chance if the last ferry back from West island at 16:00. Ferry is AU $3.50 single or $5.00 return. The bus meets the ferry for $0.50... everything shuts at 15:00 on Saturday and there were no cafe or bar open. The community Centre was helpful with Wi-Fi, and the shop reasonably stocked.

    SBright
    SBright says:
    Sep 05, 2015 01:46 AM

    Using broadband radar over-layed on the Navionics Gold electronic charts, we found that the chart was precisely accurate. There is an error in the positioning of the entrance waypoint on the plan of Direction Island in the Indian Ocean Crossing Guide. The plan shows the waypoint to be at the seaward end of the leading lines to West Island but, when plotted, it is 0.28M east of the leading lines. The waypoint is still a perfectly safe place to head for, although the boat will be closer to the land than the plan suggests.

    In September 2015 there is now buoyage (unlit) to help you in to the anchorage: From the IO Crossing Guide waypoint, head S and then SE towards the first tall post with a red can top. Leave that post to port and then turn towards the anchorage. If you have good light, you'll see a band of reef ahead of you. Identify the smaller post with a green triangle on top as this marks the area of deeper water over the reef. Keep the post close on your starboard side. We found the depths to be either equal to or more than those marked on the Navionics Gold chart. There are lots of small reefs in the anchorage but they are all deep until close inshore.

    Anchor west of the jetty to keep out of the ferry / recreation zone.

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