Reporting discharges and spills

All marine pollution discharges or accidental spills of harmful substances into New Zealand’s waters need reported immediately. Details of who to report an incident to are provided below.

Who to report discharges and spills to

There are three organizations you can report marine pollution and spills to:

  • The regional council responsible for the area where the spill occurred
  • Maritime New Zealand
  • Taupo Maritime Radio - phone +64 4 914 8333.

Contacting your local council

Get contact details for your local council [Local Government Online]

Please provide details of the incident such as:

  • when and where the incident occurred
  • the name of the vessel involved
  • the type and extent of pollution
  • any other information which you think maybe important.

Maritime New Zealand 24-hour number

New Zealand (toll free): 0508 472 269

Oil spills – take immediate steps

Any oil discharge or accidental spill of oil into the water must be reported immediately.

Vessel operators should make all reasonable attempts to stop the discharge and prevent oil reaching the marine environment. For example by plugging scuppers and collecting any oil from the deck. Where possible oil should be contained and recovered from the water.

Permitted versus illegal discharges and spills

While vessels are permitted to dispose of some types of waste at sea, there are strict requirements relating to the type of waste and the distance from land where the disposal may take place.

All pollution sightings should be reported. The appropriate authorities can then determine if the discharge or waste disposal is authorised.

New Zealand’s marine environment protection legislation, regulations and conventions place rules and limits on the discharge of harmful substances into the sea, from for example:

  • oil, including waste oil, fuel oil, sludge, lube oil and additives
  • chemicals
  • sewage
  • garbage including food, paper, bottles and plastics.

Marine environment protection legislation, regulations and conventions

Related links

Responding to spills and pollution

Marine environmental protection

Oil and oily waste

Chemicals and their risk to the marine environment

Sewage discharge regulations

Garbage disposal in the marine environment

Marine dumping