Requirements for ports and harbours

Vessels that visit New Zealand’s ports and harbours must comply with safety, security and environmental protection regulations. This applies to cargo and passenger vessels, fishing boats, charter boats and all other commercial and recreational craft.

The regulations for New Zealand’s ports and harbours are set out in various acts and rules as well as a number of international maritime conventions and agreements that New Zealand is a signatory of.

New Zealand’s ports are essential economic assets. They are a vital part of our transport network as well as being critically important to the fishing industry.

Port and harbour safety

The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code provides measures for the safe management of ships in ports and harbours. It also includes measures to prevent serious harm to people and protection for the marine environment.

New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code

Maritime New Zealand chairs and services a consultative group that oversees the development of a robust national safety system, centered on the implementation of the New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code.

The National Advisory Committee

Health and safety in port operations

The Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Port Operations covers safety precautions for port operations and gives recommendations for the better prevention of accidents, incidents, serious harm and injury. It also covers the wellbeing of employees and all other persons engaged in, or in the vicinity of, port operations.

Code of Practice in Health & Safety in Port Operations 

Security in port operations

New Zealand, like many other countries, has adopted the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Port facility security is considered to be a risk management activity. This code provides a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities.

The Maritime Security Act 2004 and its associated regulations bring the requirements of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code into legislation.

Learn more about security in port operations
Maritime security in New Zealand

The inspection and control of foreign ships that arrive in New Zealand is another of the ways that the New Zealand Government ensures the protection of life and property at sea and the preservation of New Zealand’s marine environment.

The inspection of foreign ships

Environmental requirements for ports and harbours

All ports (as well as vessels and installations) in New Zealand waters, must comply with a range of environmental regulations to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our oceans for future generations.

These regulations cover:

  • the discharge of waste, including oil, chemicals, garbage and sewage
  • what is permitted to be dumped at sea
  • the provision of port waste reception facilities
  • the requirement for oil spill contingency plans for oil transfer sites.


Environmental protection for ports and harbours