Masters of foreign ships

Information to assist Masters of ships visiting New Zealand.

COVID-19 Maritime Border Entry Restrictions

  1. The New Zealand Government for the purpose of preventing and limiting the risk of an outbreak, or the spread, of COVID-19 is

    a). restricting which ships may arrive in New Zealand; and

    b). putting in place isolation or quarantine requirements for people who arrive in New Zealand by sea.

  2. Vessels are not permitted entry to New Zealand unless exempted by the order. A cargo ship that is arriving in New Zealand for the purpose of loading or unloading cargo is an example of one such exemption.

  3. The right of innocent passage through the territorial sea, and transit passage through straits used for international navigation is unaffected.

  4. The current restrictions are detailed in the “COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) Order 2020” which is available at:
  5. These maritime border restrictions remain in force until further notice and may be amended or updated at short notice. It is therefore advisable to access the latest information, which includes advice on when and how to apply for exemptions, on the Ministry of Health’s website here:

New air pollution prevention rules

New Marine Protection Rules introduce the MARPOL Annex VI requirements in New Zealand’s jurisdiction.

By mid-2022, new Marine Protection Rules Part 199: Preventing Air Pollution from Ships (Part 199) apply to all ships voyaging in New Zealand’s jurisdiction. Foreign ships visiting New Zealand ports and terminals are required to comply with Part 199 regardless of whether they are flagged to a state party to the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI agreement.

Subpart D of Part 199 outlines how the rules apply to foreign ships.  Part 199 generally applies to foreign ships in the same manner the rules apply to New Zealand ships that voyage internationally.

View Rules Part 199

Reporting accidents and defects

Accidents, damage and defects occurring in New Zealand must be reported using the online reporting form.

Report online now

Masters of vessels visiting New Zealand with a known defect must report the defect to prior to arrival.

SOLAS Ch.1 Regulation 11(c)

SOLAS Ch.1/Reg.11(c) requires Masters to report accidents, damage and defects discovered on-board ship to the flag State and their Recognised Organisation (RO) or Surveyor, and when in the port of another Contracting Government, to the port State. The RO/Surveyor also bear responsibility under this regulation to ensure that such a report has been made.

Reporting accidents and defects under marine environment protection conventions

Reports must be sent to Maritime NZ at by the master, owner or RO, as the case requires, where an accident occurs or a defect is discovered in New Zealand jurisdiction under the terms of the survey provisions of the following conventions:

  • MARPOL - Annex I regulation 6.4.3 where the integrity of the ship or the efficiency or completeness of its equipment covered by the Annex I is substantially affected.
  • MARPOL - Annex II regulation 8.3.3 where the integrity of the ship or the efficiency or completeness of its equipment covered by the Annex II is substantially affected.
  • BWM Convention - regulation E-1.7 where the ability of the ship to conduct ballast water management in accordance with the convention is substantially affected.

In the case of ballast water management, a report that a ship is unable to meet the requirements of the international regulations in waters under New Zealand jurisdiction (extending to the outer limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone) should be communicated to Maritime New Zealand without delay via the contact above. The report must include any details of RO and flag State involvement in determining appropriate contingency arrangements. Maritime New Zealand will act on the notification in accordance with New Zealand law, taking into account the facts of the particular case. It will have regard to the advice on contingency measures set out in IMO BWM.2/Circ.62.


Many ports in New Zealand offer standard pilotage plans which Masters may incorporate into their voyage plans. In offering links to these pilotage plans Maritime NZ does not endorse them but reminds Masters of their overarching responsibility for the safe navigation of their vessels which may necessitate adjusting specific plans. Maritime NZ emphasises the importance of an effective Master:Pilot exchange of information, and that the Master and Pilot MUST discuss any deviation or interpretation to the standard pilotage plans.


Ship inspection and security

Maritime and marine protection rules

View Rules

Environmental requirements for operators

Regulations that apply to commercial vessels operating in NZ waters.
Read more