Amendment to Maritime Rules Part 90

17 March 2010

As part of its review of Maritime Rules Part 90, which sets national standards for pilotage, Maritime NZ has brought forward an amendment to one of the part’s provisions.

The amendment removes the restriction on Section 47 exemptions for oil tankers capable of carrying no more than 5000 tonnes of oil and used primarily for ship-to-ship bunkering within a pilotage area.

Currently under Maritime Rules, all tankers within a pilotage area are required to carry a pilot. Rule 90.5(4) specifically disallows any exemption from pilotage being granted for tankers under Section 47 of the Maritime Transport Act.

The amendment enables the Director of Maritime New Zealand to consider applications for exemptions from pilotage requirements for tankers in this category on a case-by-case basis. Granting such an exemption remains at the discretion of the Director. Clear criteria for the assessment are provided under Section 47.

A new bunker vessel has been operating in Auckland since mid-2009. Because the vessel is regulated as a tanker under the present Part 90, the operator was not able to seek an exemption and has had to engage a pilot for all movements within the harbour. Operations have been subject to pilot availability and have involved considerable additional cost, without providing a clear safety benefit. The amendment will allow the operator to apply for an exemption under Section 47.

The amendment will be gazetted on 4 March and comes into effect on 1 April 2010.

The change applies only to this specific provision of Rule 90.5(4). Other amendments arising from the full review of Part 90 will be introduced later in 2010.

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