New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code

The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code (the Code) provides national best practice guidance to port operators and councils to manage the safety of marine activities in their ports and harbours.

On this page:

The Code

The objective of the Code is to ensure the safe management of ships navigating in New Zealand ports and harbours, including the prevention of injury to people, loss of life and damage to the marine environment (including property).

The Code is a voluntary national standard. It supports national and local legislation.

New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code[PDF: 769kB, 58 pages]

Annual Report - 2018-19[PDF: 1.55MB, 17 pages]


The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code was established in 2004 by Maritime NZ to provide a quality standard of practice for risk assessment and safety management in ports and harbours. The voluntary Code was adopted by regional councils, Maritime NZ and port operators.

Following amendments to the Maritime Transport Act 2013 and to assess the effectiveness of the Code following 10 years of implementation, an extensive review of the Code was undertaken in late 2013.

As a result of this review the Code objectives were confirmed and a revised Code was adopted in 2016 that embraced a partnership approach between the three primary stakeholders, Maritime NZ, port operators and regional councils. It was agreed that achieving the Code objective was a joint responsibility and working collaboratively was the most effective way to attain consistency in the application of the Code on a national basis. To reinforce the commitment of the partners a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2016 that also set up a new governance structure supported by a dedicated Secretariat.

Commercial port operators, regionals councils and Maritime NZ jointly have undertaken to:

  • ensure they comply with all legislation as it applies to them
  • identify the areas where they should apply the standards in the Code, taking into account the risks to navigation safety, and keeping this under review as necessary and
  • develop and operate a safety management system (SMS) for those areas supported by a formal risk assessment.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the code, contact us.

+64 4 494 1603