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Requirements for commercial operators

All commercial vessels operating in New Zealand waters are required to comply with New Zealand’s environmental regulations and adhere to generally accepted international environmental practices.
These regulations exist to ensure that the riches of the sea are managed in a sustainable manner; achieving a balance between environmental and commercial interests, in order to maintain an unpolluted, bountiful marine environment.

Ship routeing measures

The routeing of ships operating in and around New Zealand’s coast is subject to a voluntary code, to prevent or reduce the risk of pollution or other damage to the marine environment.

As well as voluntary routes around the New Zealand coast, there is one precautionary area (the extended Taranaki offshore) and two further areas to be avoided (Three Kings Islands and Poor Knights Islands areas).

Learn more about New Zealand's ship routeing measures

Operating tourist vessels in New Zealand waters

The requirements applying to operators of tourist vessels in New Zealand waters are available at the link below. Topics covered include:

  • who has jurisdiction in New Zealand waters
  • protected areas and marine reserves
  • waste management – oil, chemicals, garbage, sewage and other waste
  • marine biosecurity.

Operating tourist vessels in New Zealand waters

Requirements for all vessels, installations and ports

This page provides an overview of the requirements that apply only to commercial vessels. Many requirements however apply to commercial vessels, recreational vessels, offshore installations and ports. For the requirements that apply across all of these, please use the link below.

Requirements for vessels, installations and ports

Certificates of insurance

A certificate of insurance provides evidence of owners and operators holding public liability insurance that will cover costs of potential damages caused by oil pollution. Ships of 400 gross tonnes and above that enter or leave any port in New Zealand or New Zealand marine waters are required to hold a certificate of insurance.