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Chemicals and their risk to the marine environment

A wide variety of chemicals and other noxious liquid substances are shipped to, from and around New Zealand. Release of these chemicals into the marine environment could have serious effects.

Hazardous substances include foodstuffs like vegetable oils, by-products like tallow, and synthetic chemical raw materials (feedstocks) used for industrial processes.

Noxious liquid substances are traded in significant quantities worldwide, and the conditions of their carriage are governed by MARPOL 73/78 (the International Convention on Prevention of Pollution from Ships).

Within the 12 mile limit, there are no permitted discharges of noxious liquid substances from ships carrying these substances in bulk as cargo.

The Resource Management Act 1991 regulations cover discharges in the coastal marine area. The marine protection rules cover:

  • the type of ship that must be used to carry particular substances
  • permitted volumes of cargo residue that may be left in a tank before being washed (or ballasted)
  • the residues permitted to be discharged into the sea
  • shipboard records and emergency preparedness requirements.

Regulations, standards, legislation and conventions for the marine environment