Port facilities

Under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 (MTOFSA) operators of prescribed port facilities have particular security responsibilities. This includes having an approved maritime security plan (MSP) in place.

Under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code 2003 and Regulations, security regulation is focused at the ship/port interface. This means that the definition of a port facility can be narrowly applied to wharves, berths, quays and anchorages. These locations are where the loading and unloading of security regulated ships occurs.

Port facility operator

A port facility operator is a person who has operational control and authority over the port facility and its security. This means operational control and authority over the wharf, berth, quay or anchorage. Port facility operators are responsible for arranging stevedores or equipment, berth scheduling, receiving wharfage and berthage.

A port facility operator is also responsible for the security of the wharf, berth, quay or anchorage, including controlling and authorising access to the facility.

Other maritime industry participants

There may be other industry participants that use the port facility. Stevedores in certain circumstances are best characterised as port facility users, not port facility operators. Another example could be an operator of mechanical loading or unloading equipment, most likely hired by the port facility operator.

Making the distinction between a user and an operator from the start will assist in correctly identifying whether or not a port facility operator or a maritime industry participant is a port facility user.

Other considerations

  • There may be other maritime industry participants at the facility such as stevedores that in certain circumstances are characterised as facility users and at other locations they are considered a port facility operator.
  • There may be other locations within a port where the immediate and direct ship/port interface takes place. This may be anywhere it is safe to anchor as directed by a port operator or the Harbour Master.

Operations that fall outside the security regulated port boundary do not satisfy the definition of a port facility. A location that possesses only a remote or tenuous connection with the loading or unloading of security regulated ships is not considered a port facility.

Security assessments

The MTOFSA requires that security assessments be undertaken of port facility operations. A security assessment is a critical part of successfully developing a security plan. Security risks that are identified through this assessment will inform mitigation measures contained in the security plan.

Port security zones

Security zones are areas within a security regulated port that are subject to higher security measures than other areas. They are established to restrict general public access and prevent interference with ships, facilities, people, vehicles or vessels.

Security zones that may be requested by a port facility operator are landside restricted zones and cleared zones.

Proposing the establishment of a security zone

Port facility operators can write to the Secretary of the Department proposing the establishment of a security zone. As a result, the Secretary may establish a security zone within the boundaries of a security regulated port. When this is done the notice is first sent to the port operator. A port operator should hold the notices of all security zones established within their port.

Regulatory guidance and templates for port facilities

The MTOFSA requires port facility operators to submit, hold and maintain an approved Maritime Security Plan. Templates and guidance materials are below.

Port facility operators

Submitting applications and supporting documentation

Applications and supporting documents can be submitted by:

  • Mail:
    Department of Home Affairs
    Regulatory Submissions
    Aviation and Maritime Security Division
    PO Box 25
    Belconnen, ACT 2616

The Department will assess your application and contact you as required.