May 2006: Carriage of heavy vehicles on roll-on/roll-off ships

This safety update is issued for masters of roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ships in coastal and international trades and operators of commercial vehicles using ro-ro shipping services.


This safety update highlights amendments to maritime rule 24B.10, which come into force on 17 May 2012. This amendment:

  • incorporates Part 2 of New Zealand Standard NZS 5444:2005 - Load Anchorage Points for Vehicles for the specification of securing points and marking arrangements (the New Zealand standard applies in place of the previously referenced International Organization for Standardization Standard ISO 9367-1 Lashing and securing arrangements on road vehicles for sea transportation on Ro/Ro ships – General requirements)
  • includes semi-trailers (a vehicle designed to be coupled to a semi-trailer towing vehicle and to impose a substantial part of its total weight on the towing vehicle) among the class of heavy transport units required to have securing points
  • limits the requirement for vehicles to have securing points to units transported on ro-ro ships engaged in coastal and international voyages.



Maritime Transport Act

Section 19(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 provides that the master of a ship shall:

  • be responsible for the safe operation of the ship on a voyage, the safety and wellbeing of all passengers and crew, and the safety of the cargo carried; and...
  • be responsible for compliance with all relevant requirements of this Act and regulations and maritime rules made under this Act, except in an emergency when, in the interests of safety, immediate action in breach of this Act or of regulations or maritime rules made under this Act is necessary.

Maritime rules

Maritime rules 24B.10(2) and (3) require:

  • the shipper of a road freight vehicle, road tank vehicle or road livestock vehicle, having a gross mass of 3.5 tonnes or more, not to offer the vehicle for shipment on a ro-ro ship unless it is fitted with vehicle securing points complying with the requirements of Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005
  • the master of a ro-ro ship to ensure that a road freight vehicle, road tank vehicle or road livestock vehicle, taken onboard the ship, having a gross mass of 3.5 tonnes or more, is fitted with vehicle securing points complying with the requirements of Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005.

The shipper’s role

The shipper is the person or organisation who presents the vehicle for transport on board a ro-ro ship.

Shippers must ensure that if they present a vehicle of the type and size indicated in the rule for transport on a ro-ro vessel, it is fitted with lashing points in accordance with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005. The ship’s crew will expect to see an information plate (see diagram) indicating the number of lashing points on each side of the vehicle. Provided that the lashing points are not obviously deficient, then the ship’s crew will permit travel.

The ship’s crew are not in a position to assess the design or strength of the lashing points and will rely on the information plate to indicate that the points are designed and constructed to the required standard and how many are fitted on each side of the vehicle. It is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure that they are present and comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005.

The master’s role

Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 requires that the compliant vehicle is fitted with an information plate showing the number of lashing points on each side of the vehicle. In order for the master to discharge his responsibilities under rule 24B.10(3) he must be satisfied that all vehicles to which the rule applies display these information plates.

When discharging his responsibilities the master must be mindful of his current responsibilities under rule 24B.4(4) which states:

“(4) The master of a ship must not accept cargo on board if the master is not satisfied that it can be transported safely.”

Therefore, even if a vehicle displays correct information plates, if the lashing points appear obviously deficient in anyway, the master is able to refuse the loading of that vehicle under both rules 24B.4(4) and 24B.10(3).

The term “obviously deficient” may be defined as: “Exhibiting visible defects which give rise to doubt in the observer as to the ability of the lashing point to withstand the forces put upon it in normal service.”

Examples of obvious deficiencies are, but are not limited to:

  • lashing points of obviously inferior quality
  • cracked or broken welds securing lashing points
  • bent lashing points
  • missing securing bolts
  • corrosion sufficient enough to reduce the cross-sectional area of the lashing point.

In determining whether a lashing point is obviously deficient, it is not anticipated that the staff checking the lashing points will be required to physically measure the dimensions of the points.

If the contrasting colour required by the standard is poor or covered with dirt it is considered to be a deficiency that needs drawing to the attention of the operator, but need not prevent the vehicle from being carried provided that the lashing points are not considered to be physically deficient.

Vehicles that need to comply

The following types of vehicle need to comply with the requirements:

  • road freight vehicles (gross mass of 3.5 tonnes or more)
  • road tank vehicle (gross mass of 3.5 tonnes or more)
  • road livestock vehicle (gross mass of 3.5 tonnes or more)

The requirements are applicable to heavy vehicle combination truck and drawbar/full trailers, and to heavy vehicle semi-trailers in the arrangements illustrated below. They also apply to trailers and semi-trailers not attached to a tractor unit.

Roro Lashings 1

Vehicles that need not comply

  • Road freight, road tank and road livestock vehicles that are not intended for transport on ro-ro ships but are being freighted for delivery purposes only, without payload
  • Passenger vehicles such as:
    • cars
    • mini buses
    • coaches
    • buses
    • motor homes
    • caravans
    • house trucks
  • Oversize vehicles1
  • railway wagons
  • special vehicles such as:
    • fire engines
    • tow trucks
    • car transporters
    • ambulances
    • horse floats / vehicles specifically designed to transport horses
    •  boat trailers.

While the vehicles mentioned above need not comply with the requirements of Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005, the ship’s crew should be able to adequately secure the vehicle in transit otherwise passage may still be refused.

1Oversize vehicles include those having characteristics outside the general parameters for road vehicles, particularly where the normal height of the centre of gravity is exceeded. In these cases, the location and the number of securing points should be specially considered.


Frequently asked questions

The rule says that I, as master, must ensure that the commercial vehicles are fitted with lashing points to the correct standard. How do I do this?

The role of the master in ensuring compliance with this rule is no different from his other responsibilities in respect of compliance with other maritime rules. He must be satisfied with the procedures, the training of staff and the supervision of operations, all of which contribute to compliance with the rule. Any perceived problem should be dealt with within the safety management system of the company. The procedure should accept the appropriate marking of the lashing points as an indication of compliance with the standard unless the points are obviously deficient.

My vehicle is fitted with securing points and an information plate in accordance with International Organization for Standardization Standard ISO 9367-1 Lashing and securing arrangements on road vehicles for sea transportation on Ro/Ro ships – General requirements. Will this meet the requirement from 17 May 2012 that securing points comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005?

Yes. The New Zealand and ISO standards are equivalent. The New Zealand standard, however, also applies to semi-trailers.

What is payload described as?

Payload is a commercial cargo that generates income.

So if all the goods on board the vehicle are my own property do I need to comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005?

If you are carrying goods, even if they are your own property, then the vehicle is not travelling for delivery purposes and you need to comply with the requirements. Delivery purposes are where the vehicle itself is being delivered from one location to another, for instance, to relocate a vehicle from one depot to another.

Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 says that it relates to load carrying road vehicles. What is a load carrying road vehicle defined as?

A load carrying road vehicle is a motor vehicle which, on account of its design and appointments is used mainly for conveying goods. It may also tow a trailer.

I have a large camper van. Does the rule apply to me?

No. The rule does not apply to motor homes, caravans, house trucks, campervans or similar vehicles.

I’m taking my horse float across the Cook Strait. Does that count as a livestock vehicle?

No. A horse float is a special vehicle and the rule does not require compliance.

I have an empty truck which I’m transporting across Cook Strait but it’s not a new truck. Does this still count as a delivery trip?

Yes, as long as the truck is empty it is considered a delivery trip and therefore the rule doesn’t apply.

I’ve had all the modifications done to my truck but haven’t got the information plates on yet. Can I travel?

No. The information plates are a fundamental part of the rule and tell the ship’s crew that you comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 and how many lashings are needed.

I have small stickers which say ‘Ferry Lashing Point’ on them above each lashing point. Is this enough?

No. Though these are good for indicating the position of the points, you still need to have the information plate which is in the form of an anchor with a number to indicate the number of lashing points on each side of the vehicle.

Anchor Point 1

Can the information plate be painted on?

Yes, a painted plate is able to show compliance with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 and how many lashing points are present on the vehicle.

I need to travel, where can I get the modifications made to my vehicle?

You are strongly recommended to get advice from a road transport engineering organisation. Information about road transport certifying engineers may be obtained from the following website. Heavy Vehicle Engineers (

I drive a semi-trailer. Do I need any lashing points?


I have an oversize load, do I need special lashing points?

No, oversized loads do not need to comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 but, again, the ship’s crew must be able to secure your vehicle safely and if they can’t do this they may still refuse you travel.

I drive a road livestock truck and I’m bringing it across Cook Strait empty, do I need to have lashing points fitted?

No, as a delivery trip in the empty condition you don’t need to have the Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 lashing points. If you plan on returning with livestock on board, however, you’ll need to comply.

My truck already has lashing points fitted, will these be accepted?

If your vehicle was manufactured and first registered on or before 30 June 2007 you can apply for an exemption from the need to have 80mm holes in the lashing points. In all other respects your vehicle needs to comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005, including the fitting of information plates.

What are the penalties for not complying?

For the shipper, the vehicle will be refused access to the vessels and will not travel. In the case of the ship, carriage of a non-compliant vehicle is a breach of the maritime rules.

I have towing sockets on the front of my truck. Currently the crew use them to lash it down when travelling. Can these continue to be used?

The towing sockets may be used provided that they comply with the dimensional, strength and marking requirements of Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 and were included in the number of lashing points indicated on the information plate when the vehicle was assessed for compliance with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 (or prior to 17 May 2012, International Organization for Standardization StandardISO 9367-1).

Are there any requirements for positioning of the lashing points?

The lashing points should be located to ensure effective restraint of the vehicles and in a position that the crew can readily and safely attach the lashings. They should preferably be symmetrical on the vehicle’s longitudinal axis. They should be arranged to prevent damage to the vehicle by the lashings.

I have a set of webbing lashing extensions which the manufacturer says meet the standard which I carry with me. Can I use them?

No. Without knowing the history of the individual lashings the ship’s crew cannot be sure of their condition and strength. Also, while the strength of the lashing may be sufficient to meet the standard, the crew need to be sure that the part of the vehicle that they are attached to is also able to take the load as required by Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005.

Owing to the design of my vehicle, it’s impossible to comply with Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005. What can I do?

If your vehicle is designed for carrying goods or people for which special arrangements are necessary, and it only performs a specific function, then it may be considered a special vehicle for which the standard doesn’t apply.

Other vehicles to which the rule is applicable but, owing to its design, it is impossible to comply with the standard will need to have equivalent or superior lashing arrangements fitted. Details of these arrangements giving information on how equivalence is achieved should be submitted to MNZ for consideration.

What load do the points need to be tested to?

The test loads are set out in Part 2 of NZS 5444: 2005 and depend on the design total mass of the vehicle and the number of securing points on each side.

Original source content - Guidance Notice Issue 21, May 2012: Carriage of heavy vehicles on roll-on/roll-off ships.


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