Maritime security

The New Zealand Government has implemented measures to address maritime security. Despite its geographic isolation, New Zealand is not immune from the threat of terrorism.

Why is maritime security necessary?

The world-wide escalation of acts of terrorism has highlighted the vulnerability of the global transport infrastructure. This includes ports, which are critical infrastructure for most economies, including New Zealand’s.

Ships may be the target of attacks and hijacking; and may be used as weapons, or to transport weapons and terrorists. Ports may also be a terrorist target or be the location of an attack by a ship.

New Zealand is almost entirely dependent on seaborne trade carried by foreign shipping which means that New Zealand’s supply chain is particularly vulnerable to disruption.

The New Zealand Government has implemented a range of measures to address security risks in trade and travel at the border, including the Maritime Security Act. New Zealand expects all ports and vessels that operate under the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code, to maintain international best practice with regard to maritime security.


Security in port operations

The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. Like many countries, New Zealand has adopted this code.

Security at New Zealand’s port facilities

New Zealand has 21 port facilities which operate under the ISPS Code. Each of these port facilities has been audited by Maritime New Zealand to ensure best practice. Every vessel berthing at a New Zealand ISPS port facility is required to abide by that port's security provisions.

Any queries regarding port security requirements should be directed to the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO) of the relevant port.


The Maritime Security Act 2004

The Maritime Security Act 2004 and its associated regulations bring the requirements of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code into legislation.

The Maritime Security Act makes Maritime New Zealand responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the ISPS Code are complied with by:

  • international trading ports in New Zealand
  • commercial freight and passenger vessels visiting New Zealand.
Maritime Security Act 2004 [New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office] Maritime Security Regulations 2004 [New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office]

Related information:

International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code

This document describes the international ship and port security code.

[PDF: 92.8kB, 2 pages]


Maritime security levels defined

This document describes Maritime’s security levels.

[PDF: 76.7kB, 1 pages]