Environmental requirements for operators

Read about the environmental regulations that apply to commercial vessels operating in New Zealand waters, and accepted international practices operators are expected to follow.

Environmental regulations exist to ensure that the riches of the sea are managed in a sustainable manner; achieving a balance between environmental and commercial interests, in order to maintain an unpolluted, bountiful marine environment.


Preventing air pollution from ships (Part 199)

Marine Protection Rules Part 199: Preventing Air Pollution from Ships (Part 199) implements the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s convention known as MARPOL Annex VI. The purpose of MARPOL Annex VI is to reduce and prevent air pollution from ships in all party states. The rules apply to New Zealand ships voyaging anywhere in the world, and to all other ships in seas under New Zealand’s jurisdiction, except for warships and ships of the New Zealand Defence Force. Some of the rules apply to smaller ships, for instance boats with powerful engines. The rules do not apply to ships that only operate in inland waters, such as lakes or rivers.



Ballast Water Management

There are requirements for commercial and recreational vessels that undertake international voyages, and can carry non-permanent ballast water. Find out what rules apply to your vessel.

Ballast Water Management


Ship routeing measures

The routeing of ships operating in and around New Zealand’s coast is subject to a voluntary code, to prevent or reduce the risk of pollution or other damage to the marine environment. As well as voluntary routes around the New Zealand coast, there is one precautionary area (the extended Taranaki offshore) and two further areas to be avoided (Three Kings Islands and Poor Knights Islands areas).

Ship routeing


Tourist vessels in New Zealand waters

The requirements applying to operators of tourist vessels in New Zealand waters are available at the link below. Topics covered include:

  • who has jurisdiction in New Zealand waters
  • protected areas and marine reserves
  • waste management – oil, chemicals, garbage, sewage and other waste
  • marine biosecurity.

Tourist vessels in NZ waters


Certificates of insurance

A certificate of insurance provides evidence of owners and operators holding public liability insurance that will cover costs of potential damages caused by oil pollution.

Offshore installations in New Zealand continental waters and all ships of 400 gross tonnes and above that enter or leave any port in New Zealand or New Zealand marine waters are required to hold a certificate of insurance.

The types of certificate and requirements may be different for:

  • oil tankers carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of oil in bulk as cargo
  • ships of 1,000 gross tonnes and above
  • ships 400 gross tonnes to less than 1,000 gross tonnes
  • offshore installations in New Zealand Continental waters

Applying for a certificate of insurance

The application process for oil tankers and ships is different to the process for offshore installations.

You need to complete the applicable certificate of insurance application form, providing evidence of:

  • insurance or alternative financial security for the required amount
  • the financial rating of the insurer or guarantor
  • other matters for which it is required set out in the guidance for offshore installations.
Certificate of insurance application form for oil tankers and ships [PDF: 266kB, 8 pages] Certificate of insurance application form for regulated offshore installations [PDF: 275kB, 8 pages]

Guidelines on Marine Protection Rules Part 102

Certificates of insurance for regulated offshore installations

Guidelines for applicants for issue or recognition of certificates of insurance for regulated offshore installations under Marine Protection Rules Part 102 can be found here.

Guidelines for applicants for issue or recognition of certificates of insurance for regulated offshore installations [PDF: 427kB, 21 pages]

This guidance about certificates of insurance should be read with the guidance for Marine Protection Rules Part 131 Offshore Installations – Oil Spill Contingency Plans and Oil Pollution Prevention Certification.