Port operators' responsibilities and obligations
This page provides information on the responsibilities and obligations of operators of security regulated ports, operators of facilities at security regulated ports and providers of services at security regulated ports (i.e. maritime industry participants).
It includes information on:
- the preparation of maritime security plans (including conducting a port wide risk assessment, and complying with signage and mapping standards)
- reporting incidents and events
- the Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme
- the competencies required for maritime security guards and maritime screening officers
- links to Australian and International maritime security legislation and regulations
A range of guidance material and better practice guides follows the information on the responsibilities and obligations of port operators, port facility operators and port service providers to comply with the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003.
Maritime security plans
A maritime security plan sets out the security measures and procedures to be implemented, at each maritime security level, to safeguard against acts of unlawful interference with maritime transport or offshore facilities.
Who is affected?
The maritime industry participants who must have a maritime security plan in force are:
- operators of security regulated ports
- operators of facilities at security regulated ports
- providers of services at such ports
It is an offence for a maritime industry participant to operate without a maritime security plan in force when one is required.
Even if you are not required to have your own maritime security plan, you may be affected by someone else's. If you have been given the relevant parts of another industry participant's maritime security plan, you must comply with the requirements of those parts.
Maritime industry participants must not hinder or obstruct compliance with the security plan of another participant. If they do so, they may be subject to an enforcement order.
Content and form of a maritime security plan
Maritime security plans must include the following:
- a security assessment for the participant's operation
- the security activities or measures to be implemented at each security level
- contact details for the participant's security officer
- provision for the use of declarations of security
- how the plan will make a contribution toward maritime security outcomes
Maritime security plans must be submitted to the Department for approval, in writing, and be accompanied by relevant maps and supporting documentation.
The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 also has provisions covering the approval, variation, revision and cancellation of maritime security plans.
Common requirements for maritime security plans
The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 have a number of general requirements to be addressed in maritime security plans, including details on security assessments and risk management processes, and information on auditing and review processes. The plans must also set out how the plan is to be protected from unauthorised access, amendment and disclosure.
There are obligations for port operators, port facility operators and port service providers to give specific information to other industry participants conducting operations within the security regulated port.
Maritime risk context and assessment
All Maritime Industry Participants are required to consider the Maritime Risk Context Statement when undertaking security assessments. Risk Context Statements provide the specified industry sectors with information on their sector's strategic risk context and the current security environment in Australia. This is used to inform the development of their maritime security plan.
Maritime Security Risk Context Statement—to obtain a copy please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Matters to be dealt with in maritime security plans
The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 detail specific matters that are to be dealt with in maritime security plans by port operators, port facility operators and port service providers, including:
- matters to be included in the security assessment
- details, qualifications and responsibilities of security personnel
- consultation procedures between maritime industry participants
- security measures for maritime security levels 1, 2 and 3
- declarations of security
Maritime security plans must also address various there prescribed measures and procedures that are designed to prevent, or respond to, threats or breaches of security against the maritime industry participants covered by the plan.
Maritime security plans for port facility operators and port service providers must also be accompanied by a relevant map as specified in the Regulations.
Part Six of the Act details four types of Maritime Security Zones. These zones include:
- Port security zones
- Ship security zones
- On-board security zones
- Offshore security zones
The Secretary may establish one or more port security zones within a security regulated port. Port security zones may be requested through individual port, port facility operator and port service provider maritime security plans. The Regulations details three different types of port security zone that may be established. These are: landside restricted zones, waterside restricted zones, and cleared zones.
The Act and Regulations detail a range of offences that apply in relation to port security zones, ship security zones and offshore facility security zones. Different types of maritime security zones carry different obligations for the MIP who is responsible for a particular zone.
Document accompanying the plan
The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 specify that certain information be put in a document accompanying a maritime security plan, but not forming part of the security plan, including contact details for key staff, details of security staff, and other information relevant to each maritime participant.
There is an obligation to notify the Department, in writing, within two working days, if there is any change to the information in the accompanying document to the security plan. It is an offence not to do so.
Process for varying and revising a security plan
Under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulation 2005, a maritime industry participant can submit changes to an existing security plan as a variation or revision.
The guidance and tools section provides further information on varying and revising plans, as well as sample forms which can be used to request the Secretary to vary or revise a security plan.
The Strengthening Maritime Security guide [PDF: 5531 KB]  [DOC: 6668 KB] provides maritime industry participants and other stakeholders with a plain English reference to the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and Regulations.
Guides to preparing a maritime security plan
A number of guides are available to assist Port Operators, Port Facility Operators and Port Service Providers to prepare Maritime Security Plans.
- Better Practice Guide Number 1 Preparing Maritime Security Plans [RTF: 2418 KB]
- Guide to Preparing a Maritime Security Plan for Port Facility Operators [RTF: 14810 KB]
- Guide to Preparing a Maritime Security Plan for Port Operators [RTF: 14896 KB]
- Guide to Preparing a Maritime Security Plan for Port Service Providers [RTF: 14746 KB]
- Guidance Paper on Supervision and Control of Cleared Persons and Baggage Outside a Cleared Zone [PDF: 428 KB] 
- Appropriate Signage for Maritime Security Zones [PDF: 764 KB]  [DOC: 2316 KB]
- Mapping FAQ—amendments to the MTOFSA in relation to the form and content of maps accompanying a maritime security plan [PDF: 256 KB] 
- How do I change my maps—This paper is designed to assist maritime industry participants with updating their Geoscience Australia maps [PDF: 661 KB]  [RTF: 1172 KB]
- Port Mapping Standards—mapping standards for port security zones and for security regulated port boundaries [RTF: 9501 KB]
Application forms for approval of maritime security plans
Maritime industry participants wishing to lodge their final maritime security plan must complete the appropriate application form, as follows:
- Application Form for Approval of a Port Operator Security Plan [DOC: 70 KB] [PDF: 67 KB] 
- Application Form for Approval of a Port Facility Operator Security Plan [DOC: 68 KB] [PDF: 66 KB] 
- Application Form for Approval of a Port Service Provider Security Plan [DOC: 54 KB] [PDF: 59 KB] 
Contained in these application forms is a self-assessment checklist which will assist the Department of Infrastructure and Transport with the assessment and review of your plan. To ensure your security plan is submitted correctly, the application form also provides the details of the Department contact officers and methods of lodgement.
Maritime Industry Participants are encouraged to use the combined AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management—Principles and Guidelines and HB 167:2006 Security Risk Management to complete their security assessments.
Security assessments should identify security risks and vulnerabilities, demonstrate that the risks have been adequately analysed and evaluated, and determine appropriate preventive and mitigating security strategies for action against unacceptable or intolerable risks.
Security assessments should be drafted in easy to read, plain English format ensuring that key elements of the risk management process adopted are clearly identifiable. If security risk assessments are not presented in an easy to read format, the Department's assessment and review processes of transport security programs may be delayed.
Due to the sensitive nature of their contents, security assessments should be protected from unauthorised access, amendment or disclosure at all times.
Varying and revising security plans
This section contains guidance on varying and revising plans as well as sample forms which can be used to request the Secretary to vary or revise a security plan.
Below is an example of a form which can be used to request the Secretary to vary a security plan;
Below are examples of forms which can be used to request the Secretary to revise a security plan;
- Request for Revision of a Maritime Security Plan for:
How to lodge security plans
All security plans must be submitted to the Secretary using one of the methods listed in the following document:
Guides to sharing security plan information
Sharing security plan information: This paper provides guidance on managing access to maritime, ship and offshore security plans. It is for maritime industry participants who are required to ensure that their security plans are protected against unauthorised access, amendment and disclosure.
This paper is only available on the restricted website for maritime industry participants, which requires a logon and password.
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.