Federal Agencies

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR)

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. 

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.

Any changes in circumstances during the voyage in Australian waters must be reported to the department as soon as practicable. 

There are a range of support tools available to help you use MARS and comply with Australia’s biosecurity requirements. See the MARS Communications and Training Materials webpage for user guides, Quick Reference Guides, FAQs, checklists and brochures. 

  • Locally based biosecurity officers are the key contacts at each of the port locations.
  • Support is also being provided by the Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC): 1300 004 605 within Australia or +61 8 8201 6185 outside Australia. The Department’s Maritime National Coordination Ce​ntre (MNCC’s) operating hours are between 0600-2100 (ACST).

Biosecurity Concerns

Risks associated with international vessels may include rabies, foot and mouth disease, or avian flu which could be introduced by infected animals or in food purchased overseas or from trading with overseas vessels. International vessels can bring in unwanted pests and disease through avenues such as:

  • Human health disease concerns from crew and passengers.
  • Exotic insects on the deck or marine pests on the hull (biofouling) or in ballast water.
  • Galleys could have stored product pests or diseased fruit and vegetables.
  • Waste from the vessel (that is dry stores, cooked and uncooked meat, vegetable scraps and eggs) if not stored securely, can become a breeding ground for exotic pests and diseases.
  • Souvenirs with plant and animal content could contain exotic insects.
  • Plants and items with feathers and seeds that can carry disease organisms or plant pests.
  • Animals including ships pets, hitch hikers or imported animals carrying disease.

Australian Border Force Requirements (ABF)


The Australian Border Force requires all overseas vessels to provide full details of the vessel, crew, passengers, animals and cargo at least 96 hours prior to arrival.

Non compliance can result in a penalty under section 64 of the Customs Act. Australian Border Force will normally attend a vessel after berthing, however, this is at the discretion of the District Commander. The definition of "overseas vessels" includes small craft as well as private and commercial vessels.

Requests for Attendance

In the case of commercial vessels, all contact should be through the shipping agent in the first instance. Small craft and private vessels should contact the District Commander directly.

Customs House

Street Address:  7 Francis Street, Geraldton (across the road from the Mid West Ports Authority)
Postal Address: PO Box 169, Geraldton WA 6531
Phone: +61 8 9965 7200
Fax: +61 8 9965 7250

Border Watch

When reporting any unusual sighting that may be of interest to Australian Border Force, please call the 24 hour Border Watch free phone on 1800 06 1800.


For information regarding overseas passengers and crew complying with Australian immigration legislation.