Environmental requirements for ports and harbours

There are requirements upon ports (just as for vessels and installations) to comply with a range of environmental regulations.

Oil spill risk in ports

The risk of spills of oil and other pollutants from ships into the marine environment is generally higher in ports than in other coastal areas due to the concentration of shipping and the transfer of cargoes and fuel that occur there.

The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code provides for the safe management of ships in ports and harbours. The code includes prevention of serious harm to people as well as protection of the marine environment.

The code sets national standards for harbour management, in order to:

  • minimise the likelihood of shipping incidents that may result in pollution within those harbours
  • ensure adequate contingency plans are in place in the event of such incidents occurring.

New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code[PDF:1.35Mb, 58 pages]

Oil spill contingency plans for ports

Marine protection rules require the owners of oil transfer sites to develop oil spill contingency plans to deal with unexpected discharges of oil. Oil transfer sites include any location where oil is loaded or unloaded from ships, as well as any location where there are refuelling facilities for ships.

Tankers discharge petroleum products in all the major ports in New Zealand. There are also numerous refuelling sites throughout the country. These range from large bunkering facilities in the main ports, to diesel and petrol pumps in most marinas and small harbours.

Port waste reception facilities

Marine protection rules also require the operators of ports to provide waste reception facilities for the transfer of harmful waste from ships, including oil, noxious liquid chemical substances and garbage.

To assist ship operators to comply with the MARPOL 73/78 Convention, Maritime New Zealand and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) publish biannually a list of shore-based facilities that are available to dispose of ship-generated waste.

Wherever possible, arrangements for the use of port reception facilities in New Zealand and Australian ports should be made through the ship's agent. Charges usually apply for the use of port waste facilities.

Waste facilities available at New Zealand and Australian ports[IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System]

This list of shore-based waste facilities was initially compiled as part of the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) maritime accidents and pollution initiative 1995 survey of waste reception facilities in ports, boat harbours and marinas.

Related information:

About the rules

Maritime and marine protection rules contain detailed technical standards and procedures and form part of New Zealand’s maritime law.

Rules overview
Beach clean up

Responding to spills and pollution

Read more