Pratique

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The International Health Regulations 2005 defines pratique as “permission for a ship to enter a port, embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; permission for an aircraft, after landing, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; and permission for a ground transport vehicle, upon arrival, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores”. This is to ensure risks to human health can be identified and managed before the vessel or aircraft is unloaded or disembarked.

Vessels other than non-commercial vessels are assumed to have pratique from the vessel’s first port of arrival in Australia unless there is illness or death on-board, or unless the vessel has not provided a pre-arrival report. Pratique takes effect when the vessel arrives at the port.

If there is illness or death on-board, or if a pre-arrival report has not been provided, pratique is only granted after a biosecurity officer has assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.

All non-commercial vessels, such as super yachts, do not have pratique until a biosecurity officer has assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.

The assessment by a biosecurity officer should occur at a declared first point of entry that is the vessel’s first port of arrival into Australia.

All vessels arriving in Australia from outside of Australia, must provide the department with a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR). The PAR provides the department with the information it requires to perform a biosecurity risk assessment of the vessel prior to its arrival.

Non-commercial vessels such as super yachts are also required to submit a PAR prior to arrival.

If the vessel does not have pratique, the master of the vessel must fly the required quarantine flag (yellow flag or quarantine lights if at night). 

Under no circumstances are passengers and/or crew permitted to leave the vessel, nor is any person permitted to board the vessel without the permission of a biosecurity officer.

Vessel pratique frequently asked questions

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What is pratique?

The International Health Regulations defines pratique as “permission for a ship to enter a port, embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; permission for an aircraft, after landing, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores; and permission for a ground transport vehicle, upon arrival, to embark or disembark, discharge or load cargo or stores”. This is to ensure risks to human health can be identified and managed before the vessel or aircraft is unloaded or disembarked.

While the vessel may obtain pratique, the vessel itself, cargo and some persons or goods may continue to be subject to biosecurity control.

Is it compulsory for each vessel to obtain pratique?

Yes. All overseas vessels must obtain pratique automatically, or manually from a biosecurity officer, at arrival at the first Australian port of call. Pratique is granted for all subsequent ports on the vessel’s voyage while in Australian waters. Pratique requests are based on the information submitted through the vessel master and/or shipping agent providing pre-arrival information through the PAR. A risk assessment is then performed by a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officer to determine whether pratique can be granted or if some actions are required first.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources may place restrictions on crew or cargo movement off the vessel or give directions for the movement of the vessel. Under very rare circumstances, a vessel can be refused pratique.

Is pratique granted before vessel’s arrival or only after an inspection?

Vessels other than non-commercial vessels are assumed to have pratique from the vessel’s first port of arrival in Australia unless there is illness or death on-board, or unless the vessel has not provided a pre-arrival report. Pratique takes effect when the vessel arrives at the port.

If there is illness or death on-board, or if a pre-arrival report has not been provided, pratique is only granted after a biosecurity officer has assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.

All non-commercial vessels, such as super yachts, do not have pratique until a biosecurity officer has boarded the vessel and assessed that there is no human health risk associated with the vessel.

The assessment by a biosecurity officer should occur at the declared first point of entry that is the vessel’s first port of arrival into Australia.

Can the Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate be a substituted for the pratique?

Ship Sanitation Certificates are issued for vessel facility sanitation and are valid for six (6) months. Ship sanitation inspections can be performed during a pratique inspection where the current certificate is due to expire and the sanitation inspection request is made as part of the Pre-Arrival Report (PAR).

A Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate will be issued by a biosecurity officer when, at the time of the inspection, no measures are required to control vectors and/or reservoirs; or relevant certification of vessel facilities is invalid, out of date and/or out of order.​

Can the pratique be issued before the vessel leaves the last international port, bound for an Australian port?

No. Pratique may only be issued to overseas vessels that are at or about to arrive at the first Australian port of call.  The vessel master or shipping agent is required to submit a Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) 12-96 hours before the estimated time of arrival at an Australian port. This will enable the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to undertake a risk assessment to inform the issuance of pratique.

If conditions change after the issue of a PAR and the Approval to Berth (ATB), the vessel master must notify the port of entry or the Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) as this may change the requirements for pratique.

Is pratique granted to vessels which operate exclusively on coastal routes?

No. Pratique is only granted to overseas vessels arriving at Australian ports, or Cocos Islands port or Christmas Island ports.

What time periods are pratique inspections able to be performed; e.g. 24 x 7, working hours, other?

Pratique inspections may occur outside standard hours.  Vessel masters and/or shipping agents may negotiate inspection times with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officers in each state and territory.

Can vessel inspections take place at anchorages and/or at berths?

The majority of vessel inspections take place at berths where officers have safe access to and egress from the vessel. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources may, on occasions, undertake anchorage vessel inspections based on a case by case assessment.

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