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Trial of new cruise passenger clearance system

CRUISE ship passengers would clear Customs and Immigration processes quicker under a new cruise passenger clearance system, the Minister responsible for Customs, Geoff Prosser, said today (WED).

Passengers embarking on the Fair Princess from Sydney this Friday would be the first cruise passengers to be processed under the new Advance Passenger Information (API) system, Mr Prosser said.

The API initiative is a joint project involving the Australian Customs Service, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and P & O Holidays.

"With the API system a passenger's passport and other travel details are collected electronically at check-in - eliminating the current requirement for travellers to provide extensive information up to three days prior to embarkation," Mr Prosser said.

"The new system will be much more convenient for passengers, speed up processing times and still cater for all the necessary checks to satisfy Customs and Immigration requirements."

He said air passengers on Qantas and Ansett flights were already being processed using an API system called Advance Passenger Clearance (APC) and this was speeding up passenger movement at international airports.

"API is one of many new initiatives planned to streamline passenger facilitation prior to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

"Customs innovations are making Australia a world leader in electronic passenger clearance.

"Most importantly, we are utilising technology to make life a lot easier for ship and plane travellers while maintaining a good level of protection for the country," Mr Prosser said.

Following the completion of the Fair Princess trial, all the parties involved would meet to evaluate the results and plan further improvements to the system.

Further information:

Simon Troeth, Minister's office, 06 277 7790; 0419 412 715

Leon Bedington, Australian Customs Service, 06 275 6793; 0418 740 980