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Requirements for vessels, installations and ports

All vessels, installations and ports 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.

The requirement to comply with environmental regulations applies to the smallest recreational boat right up to the largest container ship or cruise ship; including offshore oil and gas installations and ports.

New Zealands marine environment is regulated jointly by Maritime New Zealand, regional councils and the Environment Protection Authority.

Maritime New Zealands powers arise from the Maritime Transport Act and associated rules and extend to controlling discharges from ships beyond New Zealands territorial sea, certification requirements related to marine protection and dumping of wastes on the high seas by New Zealand vessels. Maritime New Zealand also has powers to approve operators spill contingency plans.

Regional councils have powers under the Resource Management Act and associated regulations to regulate dumping at sea, discharges from ships and environmental effects (including discharges) from offshore installations and mineral mining within the New Zealand territorial sea.

The Environment Protection Authority regulates dumping at sea and discharges from offshore installations and mineral mining that are located in the exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf. These powers arise from the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act and associated regulations.

In general across these three regulators, discharges of waste, including oil, chemicals, sewage and garbage are regulated to varying degrees. Breaching these regulations can lead to heavy fines.

Dumping of other wastes at sea is regulated in accordance with the 1996 Protocol and requires a permit from either the regional council, the Environment Protection Authority or Maritime New Zealand. The 1996 Protocol refers to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes or Other Matter, 1972. It is also known as the London Convention.

Ship’s Routeing measures are in place to protect the areas surrounding the Poor Knights, Three Kings Islands and the extended Taranaki offshore area.

Maritime New Zealand encourages all vessel operators, installations and ports to adhere to generally accepted international environmental practices in order to preserve the values of our unique marine environments. The unique beauty of our marine environment draws people from all over the world.

To find out more about the requirements for vessels, installations and ports, please use the links below: