Health Reporting Advice for the Cruise Ship Industry

The Australian Biosecurity Act 2015 requires that ship officers report any death or any traveller who has one or more signs or symptoms of a listed human disease to a Biosecurity Officer.  

Human health status is reported to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources via the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS).

The Public Health Unit's Cruise Ship Program works closely with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to review human health reports submitted in MARS and respond accordingly. 

MARS is an online web portal to be used by commercial vessel masters and shipping agents to submit pre-arrival documents required of all international vessels seeking Australian biosecurity clearance.

If there is a change in the health status of passengers or crew in relation to prescribed disease or reportable symptoms after submission on MARS, you must immediately provide an update.

A Listed Human Disease is a human disease which is communicable and may cause significant harm to human health.

Listed Human Diseases under the Biosecurity Act 2015 include:

You should inform a Biosecurity Officer of travellers who have any of the following:

  • fever, or suspected fever
  • jaundice
  • a new rash
  • unusual bleeding
  • a new coughing illness
  • any illness that requires prompt medical assistance

Reportable symptoms include:

  • Temperature over 38°C
  • Acute unexplained skin rashes or lesions, and rashes or lesions caused by illness or exposure to hazardous agents (but not heat rashes, dermatitis, eczema or similar skin conditions)
  • Muscle aches, diarrhoea, severe headaches or vomiting (but not vomiting caused by inebriation or motion sickness)
  • Severe bruising or bleeding from the nose, ears, eyes, mouth, anus or skin (but not if the person is predisposed to nosebleeds or haemorrhoids, or has cuts and abrasions)
  • Glandular swelling in the armpits or neck
  • Prolonged loss of consciousness, if the subject cannot be roused (but not loss of consciousness caused by consumption of alcohol, drugs or medications, fainting or sleeping)
  • Persistent coughing and difficulty breathing with no apparent cause and no history of similar symptoms (but not persistent coughing and difficulty breathing caused by asthma, heart disease, obesity, chronic bronchitis or emphysema)
  • Except in the case of a person with restricted mobility or an otherwise healthy young child - an inability to disembark from a vessel without assistance

To contact the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit's Cruise Ship Program email us or phone (02) 9382 8333 during business hours.