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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 117

Subject: Australia's Foreign Research Vessel Guidelines
(Including Public Vessel Status Guidelines).

Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental
and Scientific Affairs, December 1996.

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OES/OA has been advised by our Embassy in Canberra that 
they have received the following notification of revised 
guidelines for foreign research vessels operating in 
Australian waters and/or entering Australian ports.  These 
guidelines replace the 1983 requirements for seeking 
clearance for marine scientific research in the exclusive 
economic zone of Australia.  The guidelines identify 
relevant Australian legislation, which may be applicable.  
Conditions may be imposed on any permission given under the 
guidelines or under the applicable legislation. 

The revised guidelines closely follow the articles of the 
1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, and hopefully, will 
not be difficult to comply with.

The stated lead-time requirement is six months. Therefore, 
it is requested that clearance requests for Australia be 
submitted to the Department of State at least seven months 
prior to the proposed start of research, and in compliance 
with the "UNOLS Handbook for International Operations of 
U.S. Research Vessels."

(Please contact Tom Cocke, tcocke@state.gov, for copies of 
charts indicating marine jurisdictional zones of Australia 
and the Great Barrier Reef Region.)
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N ALA 96/386

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade presents its 
compliments to all Diplomatic Missions in Canberra and has 
the honor to enclose a revised copy of Australia's Foreign 
Research Vessel Guidelines (the "Guidelines").

The Guidelines form part of Australia's implementation of 
the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 
(UNCLOS) and, in particular, Part XIII of UNCLOS dealing 
with marine scientific research. The Guidelines set out the 
procedures for foreign research vessels operating in 
Australian waters or entering Australian ports. They also 
identify relevant Australian legislation, which may be 
applicable. Conditions may be imposed on any permission 
given under the Guidelines or under applicable legislation.

The Department also has the honor to provide additional 
guidelines in relation to requests for public vessel 
status. The enclosed Public Vessel Status Guidelines set 
out the Department's policy on granting public vessel 
status and relevant information required.

The Department avails itself of this opportunity to all 
Diplomatic Missions in Canberra renew to the assurances of 
its highest consideration.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade avails itself 
of this opportunity to renew to the all Diplomatic Missions 
in Canberra the assurances of its highest consideration.

CANBERRA
6 September 1996
92/013869

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Public Vessel Status Guidelines

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade determines 
whether or not a vessel enjoys public vessel status. Public 
vessels include those owned, chartered, temporarily 
employed, contracted or commissioned by any foreign State, 
or agency or instrumentality of that State, when such ships 
are not engaged in any commercial activity.

The Department therefore normally grants public vessel 
status to foreign research vessels entering Australian 
ports. There are also well established procedures for 
military vessels. The Department, however, occasionally 
receives requests for public vessel status from various 
other types of ships. Such requests will be considered when 
submitted by the relevant diplomatic mission.

Requests from diplomatic missions should include 
information to show that the vessel meets the requirement 
for public vessel status, ie that it is government owned or 
chartered and is not engaged in commercial activities.

Other information required is:

-- name of vessel 

-- type of vessel

-- port arrival and departure dates 

-- brief reason for port visit

-- crew list (which will be forwarded to the Australian 
Customs Service) 

-- name and address of the ship's agent in port (including 
telephone and fax numbers)

If preferred, this information can be provided by the 
relevant agent, and the Department will be happy to advise 
such agents when public vessel status is granted.

Public vessel status exempts vessels from the Customs 
requirement to report and clear and pay duties on stores 
consumed on board the vessel. It does not relieve the 
vessels of the requirement to comply with other Federal and 
State legislation, including where relevant the requirement 
to pay fees, charges and levies.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
CANBERRA
6 September 1996

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Foreign Research Vessel Guidelines

PREAMBLE

The Foreign Research Vessel Guidelines form part of 
Australia's implementation of the United Nations Convention 
on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and, in particular, Part 
XIII of UNCLOS dealing with marine scientific research. The 
guidelines apply to activities in waters within the 
Australian territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 
Australian fishing zone (AFZ) and on the Australian 
continental shelf (see attached sketch map which is 
indicative only). The guidelines cover two distinct 
categories of entry into Australian waters, and intending 
applicants should ensure their applications are made under 
the appropriate category:

Part 1 (including Part 1A) - Research purposes (including 
research together with a port call) 

Part 2 - Port calls.

Part 1 and Part 2 set out the procedures for foreign 
research vessels operating in Australian waters or entering 
Australian ports. Part 3 provides additional relevant 
information for foreign Governments and, in particular, it 
identifies Australian legislation, which may be applicable. 
Conditions may be imposed on any permission given pursuant 
to these guidelines or under applicable legislation. Such 
conditions will be directed towards compliance with these 
guidelines, the applicable legislation and the treaties and 
conventions to which Australia is a party. Those 
conventions include UNCLOS and the Biological Diversity 
Convention. The conditions may also address commercial 
benefits which might flow from research in the territorial 
sea, EEZ, AFZ and on the Australian continental shelf.

Where research is being carried out within three nautical 
miles of Australia's territorial sea baselines, there may 
also be requirements under the legislation of the adjacent 
Australian State or Territory.

PART 1

INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF A REQUEST BY A FOREIGN RESEARCH 
VESSEL TO CONDUCT MARINE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH WITHIN THE 
AUSTRALIAN TERRITORIAL SEA, EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE, 
AUSTRALIAN FISHING ZONE AND ON THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENTAL 
SHELF (INCLUDING RESEARCH INVOLVING A PORT VISIT)

The following information is to be provided six months in 
advance in support of a request by a foreign research 
vessel to conduct marine scientific research including 
seismic and other sub sea floor profiles, in the Australian 
territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Australian 
fishing zone (AFZ) and on the Australian continental shelf. 
These guidelines also apply to any matters relating to 
access to or use of genetic resources including, in 
particular, the collection of relatively small samples of 
biological material of potentially valuable compounds or 
attributes (including genes, foods and disease resistant 
plants) for conservation, scientific or commercial 
purposes.

Any amendments to this information are to be submitted for 
approval two months in advance of the expected starting 
date of the marine scientific project.

(a)	A full description of the nature and objectives of 
the marine scientific research project. This shall include 
a full description of:

(I)	the proposed methods and means of the marine 
scientific research; and

(II)	the scientific equipment to be used including any 
submersibles.

(b)	A full description of the vessel including its means 
of propulsion, configuration and dimensions.

(c)	Radio, radar and sonar frequencies, including 
international call sign and where displayed on vessel.

(d)	The proposed deployment of equipment and plans for 
its removal from particular marine scientific research 
areas.

(e)	Itinerary of movements in the Australian maritime 
zones, including;

(I)	first port of call and full details of any other 
proposed port visits or landings in Australia or its 
territories, including proposed dates of entry and 
departure; and

(II)	the precise geographical areas in which the marine 
scientific research activities are to be conducted, and 
detailed coordinates for marine scientific research 
stations and a map (or maps) of A4 size to show the 
proposed itinerary and the area in which the marine 
scientific research will take place.

(f)	The name and address of the sponsoring institution as 
well as:

(I)	its director and the person aboard the vessel in 
charge of the marine scientific research project; and

(II)	the master and owner of the vessel.

(g)	Details of those Australian scientists, agencies or 
institutions which will be participating in the research 
should be included. (The opportunity is to be provided for 
Australian scientists to participate in the marine 
scientific research project and Australian scientists 
should be allowed to board the vessel and inspect the 
marine scientific research equipment carried.)

(h)	Proposals to make available to Australia the results, 
both preliminary and final, of marine scientific research, 
including those relating to bathymetric, bottom and sub-
bottom profiling and other geophysical studies; proposals 
to provide copies of such data and their format, and to 
lodge samples of all materials and species collected; 
proposals to provide an assessment of data, samples and 
research results or provide assistance in their assessment 
or interpretation.

(i)	Details of any relationship between the proposed 
marine scientific research project and an agreement between 
Australia and the requesting State.

(j)	Details of the proposed means of sharing the benefits 
(including financial benefits), whether immediate or in the 
longer term from the commercial development of new products 
and processes derived from the discovery of natural 
resources in Australian maritime zones.

(k)	Details of any proposed collecting, sampling, coring, 
drilling, chemicals, explosives or other manipulation on 
the Australian continental shelf or in the EEZ.

(l)	Details of any radioactive or hazardous substances on 
board and how they are stored.

(m)	A photograph or line drawing of the vessel.

PART 1(A)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF A REQUEST BY A
FOREIGN RESEARCH VESSEL TO CONDUCT MARINE SCIENTIFIC
RESEARCH AND HAVE ACCESS TO AUSTRALIAN PORTS

The following additional information is to be provided at 
least six months in advance if a foreign research vessel 
requesting consent to undertake research in the Australian 
territorial sea, EEZ, AFZ and on the Australian continental 
shelf, also requests access to Australian ports.

Any amendments to this information are to be submitted for 
approval no less than two months in advance of the expected 
starting date of the marine scientific project, including 
any associated port visit.

The information to be provided is additional to the 
information required pursuant to Part 1.

(a)	Itinerary of visit to any port or any other landing 
envisaged in Australia and/or its territories.

(b)	Actual radio frequencies proposed to be used while 
the vessel is in port.

(c)	Names of any scientific organisations or personnel to 
be contacted in Australia.

(d)	Full names (using the Latin alphabet), nationality 
and date and place of birth of all crew and personnel on 
the vessel.

PART 2

INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF A REQUEST BY A FOREIGN
RESEARCH VESSEL FOR ACCESS TO AUSTRALIAN PORTS, WHERE
THE FOREIGN RESEARCH VESSEL IS NOT UNDERTAKING RESEARCH
IN AUSTRALIA'S MARITIME ZONES.

The following information is to be provided at least two 
months in advance of proposed access to a port or other 
landing in Australia, including its territories.

Any amendments to this information are to be submitted for 
approval no less than four weeks prior to either the port 
entry dates previously approved or any changed port entry 
dates, whichever is the earlier.

In the case of research vessels conducting research in the 
EEZ adjacent to the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT), 
this information may be provided by way of a seasonal 
clearance for several vessels or on a vessel by vessel 
basis.

(a)	Full description of vessel including its means of 
propulsion, configuration and dimensions.

(b)	Proposed first port of call and full details of any 
other proposed port visits or landings in Australia or its 
territories by each vessel, including proposed dates of 
entry and departure.

(c)	Radio, radar and sonar frequencies, including

(I)	international call sign and where displayed on 
vessel;

(II)	actual radio frequencies proposed to be used while 
the vessel is in port.

(d)	The names and addresses of the owner of the vessel 
and the name of the vessel's agent and captain.

(e)	Names of any scientific organisations or personnel to 
be contacted in Australia.

(f)	Full names (using the Latin alphabet), nationality 
and date and place of birth of all crew and personnel on 
the vessel.

(g)	A photograph or line drawing of the vessel.

(h)	The ocean areas or co-ordinates of where the research 
is to be, or has been, conducted.

(i)	The type of research the boat is equipped to 
undertake and the equipment used for collection of samples 
and data.

(j)	Details of any radioactive or hazardous substances on 
board and how they are stored.

PART 3

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO BE GIVEN TO FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS

(a)	Consideration of requests for permission to undertake 
marine scientific research proposed within the Australian 
territorial sea, Australian fishing zone (AFZ), exclusive 
economic zone (EEZ), or on the Australian continental shelf 
is conditional upon an offer to permit participation by 
Australian scientists, agencies or institutions in, and 
access to the results of such research.

(b)	All research vessels coming into Australian ports or 
the Australian territorial sea must comply with relevant 
Australian quarantine and health, immigration, 
environmental, conservation and customs laws and 
regulations. For vessels making port calls or landings, 
this includes normal crew documentation and identity 
documents, for all passengers including scientific 
personnel. The Captain of the vessel, in accordance with 
established practice, is to inform local Immigration 
authorities should any crew member abscond or become absent 
without leave while the vessel is in an Australian port. 
Freight and baggage are subject to quarantine and customs 
regulations.

(c)	Vessels for which approval is given to conduct marine 
scientific research or to enter an Australian port shall 
comply with the Australian Ship Reporting System (AUSREP). 
The vessel shall also report the following details to the 
Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre within the stated time 
frames:

(I)	sailing plan 24 hours prior to entering the AUSREP 
area;

(II)	position report every 24 hours while in the AUSREP 
area at a time to be determined;

(III)	intention to enter port - 36 hours in advance (except 
in emergency); and

(IV)	intention to leave the AUSREP area - 24 hours in 
advance:

(d)	Vessels shall display their international radio call 
sign at all times unobscured in a position on the vessel 
where it would be clearly visible from the sea or the air. 
The call sign is to be displayed in either white on black 
or vice versa or black on international safety yellow:

(I)	for vessels in excess of 20 metres, in 
letters/figures one metre high with a stroke width of 125 
millimetres;

(II)	for vessels less than 20 metres in length, in 
letters/figures 50 centimetres high with a stroke width of 
62.5 millimetres.

(e)	All foreign research vessels, including fisheries 
research vessels, within the Australian Fishing Zone, 
designed or equipped to take, process or carry fish or 
intending to take, process or carry fish or wishing to 
search for and take certain sedentary organisms on and/or 
from the Australian continental shelf, are required to 
apply for and obtain scientific research permits under the 
Fisheries Management Act 1991. Applications for permits 
should be made to the Australian Fisheries Management 
Authority. It should be noted that certain conditions may 
apply to the granting of such permits.

(f)	Foreign research vessels conducting marine 
geoscientific research of a type that is relevant to 
petroleum and mineral exploration in Australia's maritime 
zone will be required to comply with the provisions for 
scientific investigations as set out in the Petroleum 
(Submerged lands) Act 1967 or the Offshore Minerals Act 
1994. Any application for an "instrument of consent", or 
"special purpose consent" to carry out such scientific 
investigations should be made to the Department of Primary 
Industries and Energy which will arrange for the 
application to be considered by the relevant authority. It 
should be noted that certain conditions may apply to the 
granting of such permits.

(g)	Operators of foreign research vessels wishing to 
erect scientific research installations or equipment used 
wholly for the exploration for or research on hydrocarbons 
on the Australian continental shelf are required to hold a 
permit issued under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 
1967. Applications for permits should be made to the 
Department of Primary Industries and Energy which will 
arrange for the relevant State or Territory Minister to 
issue such a license. It should be noted that certain 
conditions may apply to the granting of such licenses.

(h)	It is illegal to conduct research in a marine park, 
marine national nature reserve or other park, reserve or 
protected area established under the National Parks and 
Wildlife Conservation Act 1975, without a permit to do so 
from the Director of National Parks and Wildlife. The 
Director may grant permission only if to do so is in accord 
with the Director's responsibilities to protect the park or 
reserve and its plants and animals and to abide by the plan 
of management for the park or reserve.

Pelagic marine algae, sea snakes, pinnipeds and birds are 
protected species under the National Parks and Wildlife 
Regulations and may not be taken or killed unless a permit 
has been issued by the Director of National Parks and 
Wildlife. The Director may issue a permit allowing a 
specimen of a protected species to be taken only if the 
purpose of the activity is scientific research on, 
educational study of, or non-commercial propagation of that 
species and, in addition, the activity is not likely to 
affect adversely the population to which the specimen 
belongs.

Persons wishing to enter or conduct research in marine 
parks and reserves within three nautical miles of the 
territorial sea baseline of Australia or coastal islands 
must contact the appropriate State or Territory park 
management or fisheries authority for advice on 
requirements.

(i)	Under the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports 
and Imports) Act 1982, specimens of Australian native fauna 
and flora may not be taken out of Australia for the 
purposes of scientific research without a permit from the 
designated authority under the Act (currently the Director 
of National Parks and Wildlife). This Act applies to marine 
organisms other than fish and fauna listed in Schedule 4 to 
the Act, which includes some species of commercially 
harvested molluscs and crustaceans.

(j)	Under the Whale Protection Act 1980 it is an offense 
to kill, take, injure or interfere with any cetacean. Under 
this Act it is possible, however, for the masters of 
foreign research vessels to apply to the Director of 
National Parks and Wildlife for a permit to do, for 
specified purposes, a specified act or acts constituting 
interference with whales or dolphins. The Act provides for 
severe penalties, including forfeiture of the vessel, for 
breaches of its provisions. The Act specifies that port 
access by any foreign whaling vessel requires special 
ministerial permission.

(k)	Persons aboard all research vessels may be requested 
to record sightings of cetaceans and marine turtles in 
Australian waters, and to provide the information to the 
Australian Nature Conservation Agency at the completion of 
the cruise.

(l)	Persons wishing to undertake marine scientific 
research and other activities, including passage other than 
through recognized shipping channels within the Great 
Barrier Reef Marine Park (the boundaries of which lie 
within the parallel of l0 degrees 4l minutes S to meridian 
145 degrees 00 minutes E, thence southerly along the 
meridian to parallel 13 degrees 00 minutes S, thence south-
easterly along the geodesic to a point of l5 degrees 00 
minutes S 146 degrees 00 minutes E, thence south-easterly 
to a point l7 degrees 30 minutes S 147 degrees 00 minutes 
E, thence south-easterly to a point 2l degrees 00 minutes S 
152 degrees 55 minutes E, thence south-easterly to a point 
24 degrees 30 minutes S 154 degrees 00 minutes E, thence 
along the parallel of 24 degrees 30 minutes S to the 
Australian coastline, see attached map), may be required to 
hold a permit issued under the Great Barrier Reef Marine 
Park Act 1975. Applications for permits should be made to 
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Applications for permits to undertake marine scientific 
research within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should 
specify the reasons why such research needs to be 
undertaken within the Marine Park.

Persons undertaking marine scientific research and other 
activities within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for 
which approval has been given shall comply with the 
conditions of the written permission supplied by the Great 
Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Restrictions apply to 
the conduct of certain research activities at certain 
locations.

(m)	Operators of foreign research vessels wishing to 
erect scientific research installations or equipment (other 
than scientific research installations or equipment used 
for exploration for hydrocarbons or hard minerals) on the 
Australian continental shelf or in the EEZ may be required 
to hold a permit issued under the Sea Installations Act 
1987. Operators of foreign research vessels should 
therefore contact the Department of the Environment, Sport 
and Territories on this matter prior to any proposed 
erection of such scientific research installations or 
equipment.

ADDRESSES

AUSTRALIAN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
28 National Circuit
FORREST ACT 2603

DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY
Edmund Barton Building
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Coal and Minerals Division
Resources and Energy Group
Department of Primary Industries and Energy
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Petroleum and Fisheries Policy Division
Resources and Energy Group
Department of Primary Industries and Energy
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2600

AUSTRALIAN NATURE CONSERVATION AGENCY
GPO Box 636
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601

GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK AUTHORITY
GPO Box 791
CANBERRA ACT 2601
or
P0 Box 1379
TOWNSVILLE QLD 4810

DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, SPORT AND TERRITORIES
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601

[end of document]

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