The Australian Government has implemented a maritime security regime to help safeguard Australia's maritime transport system and offshore facilities from terrorism and unlawful interference. Under this regime all security regulated ports, port facilities, offshore facilities, port and offshore service providers and ships (collectively, maritime industry participants) undertake security risk assessments and implement security plans to address identified risks. This includes, but is not limited to:
- measures that need to be in place at different security levels
- the powers and responsibilities of officials
- reporting incidents and events
- screening and clearing, weapons and prohibited items
- the Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) Scheme, and
- enforcement of the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and Regulations.
Following 11 September 2001, the international community implemented a system to secure the maritime transport sector against the threat of terrorism. The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by December 2002, was the result.
The Australian Government developed the Maritime Transport Security Act 2003 to implement the ISPS Code in Australia. Both the ISPS Code and the Act came into effect on 1 July 2004.
In 2005 the Act was extended and renamed the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 (MTOFSA). The amended Act, and Regulations under it, establishes the legislative basis for also approving security plans for offshore oil and gas facilities.
International developments and a number of reviews have led to changes and refinements in the legislation underpinning the maritime security regime.
This site contains links to international and Australian legislation and regulations, and the range of guidance and tools that have been prepared to assist maritime industry participants with meeting their responsibilities and obligations under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and Regulations. This includes links to information on the Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme and the competencies required for maritime security guards and maritime security screening officers.
Important maritime security notices
Security arrangements for Security Regulated Australian Ships
The purpose of this Maritime Security Notice (2-08) is to emphasise the importance of robust protective security arrangements for security regulated Australian ships, particularly whilst transiting through shipping lanes in high risk locations.
- Security Regulated Australian Ships: Protective security arrangements for transiting through the waters surrounding the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Coast (2-08) [PDF: 58 KB]  [RTF: 104 KB]
Government Response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement
The Government's response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement's inquiry into the adequacy of aviation and maritime security measures to combat serious and organised crime at Australia's airports and seaports is now available. More information on this and a copy of the Government's response are available to download from the page below.
- Government response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement [PDF: 682 KB]  [DOC: 81 KB]
Regulatory Changes to the Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) Scheme
For further information on enhancements to the Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme, please see the MSIC fact sheets.
For any enquiries regarding the MSIC scheme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislation and regulations
Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003
The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 (the Regulations) provide the operational details of the Act and adopt the same outcomes-based approach.
The Regulations specify the requirements for maritime and ship security plans, so that the plans meet the criteria set out in the Act.
Other legislative instruments
Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act Notice About How Incident Reports Are To Be Made (No.3). This Notice requires persons reporting ‘maritime transport or offshore facility security incidents’ to the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to provide certain minimum information and also requires the report to be made in writing to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport Security Coordination Centre.
Consolidated versions of the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 are available on the ComLaw website—www.comlaw.gov.au. All previous amendments to the Act and Regulations can also be found through this site. Please visit this site for other Commonwealth Legislation as well.
Visitors to this section of the maritime security site and discussion forums will require a username and password to access this information. This section of the site contains important information for the effective operation of the maritime industry and is specifically aimed at maritime industry participants.
Maritime industry participants seeking access to this site should contact their local Office of Transport Security office for a username and password.
This section contains information on Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSICs). The MSIC is a nationally consistent identification card which shows that the holder has met the minimum security requirements to remain unmonitored within a maritime security zone.
This section provides links to other Australian Government agencies with maritime responsibilities.
Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided as a guide for general purposes only. While all care has been taken to ensure that the information accurately reflects the requirements of the Act and the Regulations, you should not rely on the information for the purpose of any particular action or decision.