Australia, Darwin: New Biosecurity Requirements affect International Yacht Arrivals

As a result of changes to Australian biosecurity requirements which came into effect on December 16, 2019, all non-commercial vessels including international yachts wanting to clear in through Darwin must now request permission in writing from the Department of Agriculture before their arrival.

Published 3 years ago

Darwin, at the “Top End” of Australia is a popular entry point for yachts coming from SE Asia.

Darwin, at the “Top End” of Australia has long been a popular port of entry for cruisers arriving from South East Asia.

However, due to the Department of Agriculture’s biosecurity requirements, the port is no longer a First Point of Entry for non-commercial vessels including international yachts.

Department of Agriculture officials told Noonsite that Australia’s Biosecurity Act 2015 “requires sites that facilitate the arrival of international aircraft, vessels and goods to have facilities, infrastructure and procedures in place to effectively manage the biosecurity risks associated with their operations.  No sites within the Port of Darwin achieved regulatory compliance with the non-commercial vessels standard. Consequently, the Director of Biosecurity was unable to designate the port as a first point of entry for this class of vessel.”

Requesting written permission

International yachts may still enter Australia through Darwin, but they must first request permission in writing, from the Department of Agriculture prior to their arrival.

The following information has been provided by the Biosecurity Operations Division of the Department of Agriculture in Canberra, Australia on the new process for vessels who want to clear in at Darwin.

These new requirements are applicable to Biosecurity related activities only. Non-commercial vessel operators are still required by law to report their impending arrival to Australian Border Force.

Note:  The procedures for departures from the Port of Darwin remain unchanged. The new process only impacts vessel arrivals.

Fees for waste removal

Biosecurity officials may transport up to 20kg of waste (approx. 2 medium bags) for disposal.  There will be an additional AUD$50 charge for this (in conjunction with other fees for Biosecurity services).

If there is more than 20kg of waste, the Master/Operator must organise an approved provider to collect and dispose of the waste.

For a list of approved providers for waste collection, see the Department of Agriculture website.

Contact details:

For questions or information pre-arrival – contact the Maritime National Co-ordination Centre (MNCC) within Australia on 1300 004 605 or from outside Australia on +61 8 8201 6185.

For questions or information post-arrival – contact the Department of Agriculture office in Darwin on 08 8998 4927.

Email the MNCC:  [email protected]

Related Links:

Department of Agriculture – First Points of Entry

Maritime Arrivals Reporting System –  Non First Point of Entry application form

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