Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS)

The Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) leads oil spill response in New Zealand.
an oil rig in the middle of the ocean has white smoke billowing out of it and blowing off to the right.

Major spills in New Zealand and beyond

Why MPRS was established

MPRS was formed in the 1990s, after New Zealand signed up to the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC), in 1998.

Learn more about the OPRC convention


Roles and responsibilities of MPRS

Parties to the OPRC convention are required to take all appropriate steps to prepare for and respond to oil pollution incidents. We do this for New Zealand, on Maritime New Zealand’s behalf.

We work to minimise the impact of oil pollution on New Zealand’s marine environment by:

  • responding to regional marine- based oil spills
  • training other people in how to respond - such as regional council and industry representatives
  • running exercises to ensure people maintain their skills and are practised in using the equipment
  • keeping equipment on-hand for use during marine oil spills
  • maintaining a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan which describes how we will run a Tier 3 (national) oil spill response
  • working with regional councils to make sure they have regional response plans, which identify sensitive sites and likely response options for their territorial regions
  • providing assistance to (or receiving help from) other countries if required, for larger oil spill incidents.

National Oil Spill Contingency Plan

The National Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan promotes a planned and nationally coordinated response to any Tier 3 (national) marine oil spill or training exercise.

Read more


Oil-spill response staff

We have 12 staff, all based in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Our staff have worked on oil spill responses throughout the world. For example, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2009 spill from the Montara well head in the Timor Sea and the Pacific Adventurer oil spill in Queensland in 2009.

Our experienced responders have expertise in:

  • planning - to ensure plans are in place for oil spill responses of any size
  • logistics - to ensure oil spill response teams have access to the equipment, personnel and resources they need
  • training - to ensure oil spill responders are trained and ready
  • equipment - to develop and maintain New Zealand’s oil spill response equipment.

Our staff are supported by:

  • Maritime New Zealand
  • the National Response Team - about 120 trained responders who are based around New Zealand
  • regional responders about 400 people, mainly with regional councils, who are trained in all aspects of oil spill response.


Contact us

Find out where we are and what our contact details are.

MPRS office details

Related information:

Responding to spills and pollution

Read more