About this page & contacts:
On this page you will find:
- Detailed international policies
- Detailed Australian policies
- Federal policies
- Western Australian policies
- Australia Crew Change Summary
- Information on flights currently scheduled into and out of Australia
- COVID-19 restrictions affecting the general population
- Health directives by State and Territory
Shipping Australia is working to revise and produce a comprehensive update. However, in the interim, please contact Shipping Australia directly for further details.
Phone: +61 2 9167 5838
Detailed policies, rules and restrictions
Australia Crew Change Summary
Undertaking crew changes in Australia is challenging but it can be done if very carefully planned, timed and coordinated. Ensure adequate time is allowed, noting there is a limited number of flights to most Australian major cities both from outside Australia and from within Australia.
Non-Australian citizens and non-Australian residents are not permitted to enter Australia, via aircraft or sea vessel, unless an exemption applies. Commercial maritime crew do have an exemption an may enter and depart Australia with an appropriate entry visa and a Maritime Crew Visa. Maritime crew are not subject to the otherwise mandatory 14-day Federal quarantine, however, they will be required to comply with self-isolation requirements. Maritime crew will in most States & Territories be subject to additional controls and this can include a compulsory local quarantine.
Federal visa issues
Crew change co-ordinators (ship agents typically but this could be other parties who arrange crew changes) will need to ensure that seafarers have a valid Maritime Crew Visa AND some other kind of visa that allows entry into Australia by air (the Maritime Crew Visa does not allow entry into Australia by air). There are two types of tourist visa and one type of transit visa that can be used. The following two documents will be of use: "Visitor and Transit visa applications for Maritime Crew Visa Holders" and "Maritime Crew Changes - FAQs".
Further Federal information
The Australian Federal Government has published extensive guidance in the form of COVID-19 fact sheets that are relevant to the maritime industries and these documents can be accessed here. The fact sheet "COVID-19 Information for the marine industry" has official contact numbers for further advice and after hours enquires.
REMEMBER: even though the Federal rules may allow crew changes, the relevant State and Territory rules ALSO apply at the same time. So, for instance, even though the Federal rules allow crew changes without quarantine any seafarer travelling into Western Australia will nonetheless have to do a 14-day quarantine.
This is the most feasible jurisdiction for carrying out crew changes. On-signing crew can fly into Brisbane and join a vessel directly without testing or a 14-day quarantine if the vessel is in port when the crew arrive. They must stay in their accommodation until the ship sails. Off-signing crew can transit straight from a ship to the airport. There are no domestic flights to regional Queensland ports, crew change coordinators will need to make arrangements for road transport. Maritime Safety Queensland’s Protocol for Maritime Crew can be found here.
Crew changes are extremely difficult but are possible. There are no general commercial flights into Melbourne. However, we understand that chartered flights can fly into Melbourne. Meanwhile, ship-to-ship transfer has also occurred but this is very rare.
New South Wales
A crew change can be done after the on-signing crew undertake a 14-day hotel quarantine. Off-signing crew can go straight to the airport and depart.
The ability to crew change is very limited because of a general lack of flight availability. However, crew changes have happened in South Australia.
On-signing crew must undergo a 14-day hotel-based WA government hotel quarantine.
AVIATION: restrictions on the numbers of people that are allowed to fly into Australia
An extensive outbreak of COVID-19 in the Australian state of Victoria has caused the authorities to impose a wide range of restrictions in Melbourne and across Victoria.
Consequently, State and Territory authorities across the country have imposed restrictions on the number of people who can arrive into their State or Territory by air.
Until 24 October the following limits apply:
Adelaide, South Australia – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week
Brisbane, Queensland – limit of 1,000 passenger arrivals per week* (see note below)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory – passenger limits on each flight to be discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis
Darwin, Northern Territory – passenger limits on each flight to be discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis
Hobart, Tasmania – no international flights
Melbourne, Victoria – the airport is closed to arriving international passenger flights until at least 24 October including transit flights. Some outbound international flights are available.
Perth, Western Australia – limit of 1,025 passenger arrivals per week
Sydney, New South Wales – limit of 420 passenger arrivals per day
*Note: Commercial mariners flying into Queensland are not affected by passenger caps as the authorities have set up a separate system to manage seafarers.
Source: The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, 20 October 2020.
Information on flights currently scheduled into and out of Australia
Australia’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications maintains a list of flights scheduled to fly into and out of Australia. It is maintained by the Department on a continuous basis.
Mariners should note that the Department warns that the schedule may be subject to change and does not guarantee that the flights will proceed.
Transiting through Australia
Passengers transiting Australia are automatically exempt from Australian travel restrictions if they in in Australia for less than 72 hours before leaving on a connecting flight. There are visa issues. Some nationals can transit Australia without a visa. Other nationals will need a transit visa. Maritime Crew Visa (subclass 988) holders can use a transit visa to enter Australia by air to join cargo vessels. Readers are directed to this page to find out more.
COVID-19 restrictions affecting the general population
Health directives by State & Territory