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Maritime NZ: Sea Change July 2022 newsletter - NZ Maritime border opens at last

by Maritime New Zealand 10 Aug 17:31 NZST 10 August 2022
Senses - Superyacht - Waitemata Harbour - owned by Google co-founder Larry Page - July 12, 2020 © Richard Gladwell /
Latest issue of SeaChange July 2022
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Issue 91

July 2022

SeaChange brings you news you can use to stay safe on the water, plus updates from Maritime NZ and the maritime sector. Remember to 'view in browser' to see all the images below. 

Putting safety first

Kia ora koutou,

It's a busy time and we've got lots to update you on.

Firstly, as mentioned previously, this Sunday we'll see the reopening of the maritime border. The return of cruise ships and other vessels to our shores is a further sign that normality is returning, and while we can never take the evolution of COVID-19 for granted, it's encouraging to see New Zealand continue to reconnect with the world.

On a similar note, the return of air travel has been met with excitement by many New Zealanders, and has allowed our teams to begin reconnecting with key regional partners. In this issue, you can read about our Rescue Coordination Centre's recent engagements in Fiji and Australia, as well as our Maritime Security team's work in the Cook Islands.

We're also continuing our work to improve health and safety in ports, with face-to-face workshops with representatives from across the sector and port assessments, as you'll see in the two articles below.

I'm also delighted to introduce Principal Advisor Peter Hatton, whose enthusiasm for the maritime industry is a great asset to our 40-Series Reform Project.  

Here's the full list of this month's articles: 

  • The maritime border is opening up
  • Port health and safety work programme update
  • Port assessments: next steps
  • Meet our crew (Peter Hatton)
  • Requirements for reducing carbon intensity, and a chance to have your say 
  • Ongoing improvements to certification processes
  • Maritime NZ involved in helping to minimise marine pollution
  • Reconnecting with key regional partners
  • Cook Islands building its maritime security
  • Marine Pollution Response Training Back on the Water
  • Statement of Performance Expectations out now
  • Multiple failings across two trips by fishing company

Ng mihi,
Kirstie Hewlett
Director and Chief Executive

The maritime border is opening up

From 11:59pm on 31 July, the maritime border will reopen to currently prohibited foreign-flagged passenger, specialist and recreational vessels, including cruise ships.

Earlier this month the Maritime Border Order was amended to update the Public Health-related regulatory requirements these vessels and their passengers must comply with before being allowed to enter New Zealand. 

While the border is reopening, precautions will continue to be taken to protect port workers, the public and also those arriving at New Zealands ports. Vessel arrivals will be split into two categories:
  • Category 1  passengers and crew on all vessels associated with trade, as well as well as specialist vessels and foreign-state vessels with diplomatic status. Category 1 arrivals don't need to be vaccinated but will be subject to on arrival testing.
  • Category 2 crew and passengers on a cruise ship or recreational vessels. Category 2 arrivals will need to demonstrate they're fully vaccinated; they won't be required to test on arrival.
Work is continuing to ensure the smooth return of cruise and other vessels to New Zealand as the country gears up to welcome back maritime-related tourism. This includes preparing guidance so that ships' masters and passengers are aware of their entry obligations and other requirements such as isolation, disembarkation and handling of test results, and know how to comply with them.

Stay up to date with the latest information

Remember, you'll find regularly updated COVID-19 information on our website, including the Maritime Industry Update. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Port health and safety work programme update

Napier Port

Id like to again thank everyone involved port companies, stevedoring firms, unions, workers and other port users for your commitment and involvement in this important work of developing the port health and safety programme.

Since the last issue of SeaChange, the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group met for a day. It was a good opportunity for the group to re-confirm its vision, work out how we can best work together, and to set the level of ambition going forward.

We've also held a number of face-to-face workshops with representatives from across the sector. The workshops give an overview and progress report on the work programme, support the collection of insights from attendees, and are good opportunities to discuss risk, harm, and good practice interventions.
Work on reports from the Maritime NZ and WorkSafe port assessment visits continues (as outlined below), as do the Maritime NZ and TAIC investigations into the fatalities at the ports in Lyttelton and Auckland.
Again, thank you to all involved, and I'll continue to keep you updated.
 Kirstie Hewlett, Director, Maritime NZ 

Port assessments: next steps

The port assessment visits carried out by Maritime NZ and WorkSafe are part of the port health and safety work programme Kirstie Hewlett, has written about above.

Some of the PCBUs (person conducting business or undertaking) involved in the assessments have asked about the process for the reports that follow the visits. 

Three types of reports will be produced:
  • for individual PCBUs about their own operations
  • 13 port summaries, one about each port
  • a national summary across all ports.
Each PCBU has been sent its own reports about its operations and asked for feedback to ensure comments are accurate and fair. Many PCBUs have replied, allowing the writing of the 13 port reports to begin.

When drafted, the port reports will be sent to all PCBUs and unions who were part of the assessment in that port for their comment. All PCBUs and unions involved will have the opportunity to comment on the national summary.

I'd like to thank everyone taking part, and we'll keep you informed of progress.

Deb Despard, Deputy Director, Compliance Systems Delivery

Meet our crew

Peter Hatton, Principal Advisor Technical, Regulatory Systems Design Team, 40-Series Reform Project
I have a passion for the maritime industry; its been my whole career and I have a strong affinity for ships, boats and water craft of all sorts.

Principal Advisor Peter Hatton draws on his surveyor and naval architect background to provide technical feedback and assurance for the 40-Series Reform Project a multi-year project to reshape the rules governing domestic commercial vessels design, construction and equipment. Hes been part of the team for a year now, and enjoys thinking hard and in depth about issues and coming up with solutions or improvements.


Requirements for reducing carbon intensity, and a chance to have your say 

New Zealand is now a party to Annex VI of the International Maritime Organization convention for the prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL).

The Maritime Protection Rules Part 199: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (Part 199) bring the requirements of Annex VI into effect in New Zealand law progressively from 26 August 2022.

Carbon intensity reduction requirements

Last month we outlined the new requirements for implementing international controls on ozone depleting substances as part of MARPOL Annex VI. Now we're highlighting the carbon intensity reduction requirements.
Energy efficient ships save money and generate lower emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Thats good for ships, the environment, animals and people. Annex VI introduces several carbon intensity reduction requirements for new and existing ships of 400 GT or more:
  • Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan  an operational plan for maintaining and improving energy efficiency. 
  • Energy Efficiency Design Index or Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index for some ships a calculated number that estimates the energy efficiency performance based on a ship's design. The ship must exceed the required index for its type and size. 
  • International Energy Efficiency certificate demonstrates that the ship is compliant with the carbon intensity reduction requirements. 
  • Annual ship fuel oil consumption reporting for some ships over 5000 GT recording and reporting on fuel oil usage. 
  • Carbon Intensity Index for some ships over 5000 GT a calculation of the annual carbon use by a ship. 
  • Statement of compliance for some ships over 5000 GT issued annually when the fuel oil reporting and Carbon Intensity Index requirements are met.
Visit our website for the rules and other important details

Have your say on the proposed changes

Please note that the engine rules relating to nitrogen oxide emissions for domestic voyaging ships (Section C3 of Part 199) are suspended for now. This is to allow time for work on a technical rule change.

We'll soon be consulting on these proposed changes and everyone is welcome to have their say. Check our website for how to provide feedback. The rules will be completed by the end of 2022.

Ongoing improvements to certification processes

Information in the first (above) and last pages of the certificates are now added as a secure sticker
Maritime NZ is making good progress in addressing a backlog in processing certification applications. 

As noted in SeaChange Issue 89, actions are being taken to clear the backlog of applications that has grown over time. A dedicated business and administration team now manages the receipt and initial processing of applications for seafarer and operator certification, which has created efficiencies.

Where an application is made that doesn't have sufficient information, applicants should now hear from us within five working days. Once the application is complete we'll send you the invoice. Maritime NZ only accepts an application once it's both complete and any fixed fee is paid.

While there are still some delays in processing seafarer certification, we're working towards a standard processing time of 20 working days. We haven't been able to consistently achieve that timeframe yet and we recommend making your application three months before it's required.

If you need your application completed urgently, please contact us explaining the situation so we can consider prioritising it. We'll ask you some questions so we can understand the relative priority of your application before fast-tracking it. 

We've also printed nearly half of the certificates that were solely issued electronically during COVID-19 disruptions, and we expect the remainder to be completed by November. Certificate holders can operate using their electronic documents in the meantime.

We've modified our approach to enhance security by adding a special sticker. This new process has also created efficiencies in production.

 Deb Despard, Deputy Director, Compliance Systems Delivery

Maritime NZ involved in helping to minimise marine pollution

Strong coffee was top of the menu for a Maritime NZ team last month as they worked through the night on international agreements to improve the marine environment.
Our team joined others from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Transport as part of New Zealands delegation to the 78th session of the International Maritime Organizations Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC78), whose aims include decarbonisating the global shipping industry.

That meant late starts and working into the early hours of the morning to participate in online meetings organised around Northern Hemisphere times.

The Maritime NZ delegation contributed to a number of key discussions, including:
  • a review of the IMOs strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, where there was widespread support for setting a more ambitious target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (previously the target had been to halve emissions)
  • measures to drive greenhouse gas reduction (such as introducing Carbon Intensity Index a rating between A and E that demonstrates a vessels carbon footprint   at the end of the year)
  • the need for careful consideration of potential impacts on supply chain costs, especially for Small Island Developing States.
Among other things, the MEPC also approved the development of a Ballast Water Management Convention Review Plan, building on a document co-sponsored by New Zealand. The plan advances what has been learnt through data-gathering and analysis over the past four years. 

These and other developments will be discussed ahead of MEPC79 in December, where a number are expected to be adopted.

Reconnecting with key regional partners

Members of Maritime NZ recently travelled to Australia and Fiji as part of a targeted strategy to re-engage post the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The first visits were to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra and Cairns, where the team saw the search and rescue (SAR) fixed-wing Challenger in action and had the opportunity to discuss the recovery capability delivered by the MV Coral Knight, which operates in the Australian search and rescue region centred around the Torres Strait. The trip involved important conversations around the synergies between delivering our joint SAR and response activities and exercises, especially across our shared search and rescue region border in the Tasman.

The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ also visited another key partner: Fiji. This was our first opportunity to reconnect with RCC Fiji (part of the Fijian Navy) after the cooperative arrangement for SAR services was signed at the end of 2021. This arrangement committed both parties to work towards enhanced coordination and identifying opportunities to assist each other with training and capacity development.

Some outcomes will be progressed over the coming months. One key element was the agreement that Maritime NZ, in conjunction with the New Zealand Defence Force, will assist with developing and training search and rescue mission coordinators (SMCs).  To get this moving, two senior Fiji RCC staff will complete our search and rescue officer induction course later this year. We'll also continue to focus our ongoing support on developing RCC Fiji SMCs through training and joint exercises.

Cook Islands building its maritime security

United States Coast Guard and Maritime NZ delivering capacity building on the International Shipping and Port Facility Security Code
The International Ship and Port Security Code is the key international convention that protects the security of trading ports and commercial freight and passenger vessels.

It supports global trade by helping prevent attacks, hijacking, terrorism and the illegal transport of weapons.

In New Zealand, the Codes requirements are enacted through the Maritime Security Act 2004. The Code also applies to Pacific Island countries, as it does to other maritime nations, but for small countries its requirements can be challenging.

The Cook Islands close and trusted relationship with New Zealand has led to Maritime NZ working with the Cook Islands government, and bringing in support from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), so the Cook Islands can decide how to develop its ports security capability and then implement it practically.

Together we're working with Cook Islands port personnel, agencies that work on the port, and the Cook Islands' Ministry of Transport.

We do this because New Zealand is part of the Pacific, and as a member of this community of countries we're responsible for helping our partners, as well as ensuring we carry out our own obligations to the conventions we sign and implement.

New Zealand port security is internationally highly regarded, and this is acknowledged by the USCG. We're also trusted by Pacific Island countries and when these countries need help in enhancing port security, we step up and provide the support they want and the international contacts they need. This in turn helps them to make the best decisions for not only the safety of their ports and their country, but also their supply chains.
United States Coast Guard International Port Security Liaison Officer, Michael Tappan, (left) and Maritime NZs Senior Advisor, Maritime National Security Natasha Hallett (right), with John Hosking, Secretary of Transport, Cook Islands

Marine Pollution Response Training Back on the Water

Regional Responders demonstrating they can deploy a boom correctly

For the past two years it's been hard to get responder training activities underway, especially with the tough restrictions on travel around the country...

Now, finally, the Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) has been able to run three-day Regional Responder and Senior Regional Responder courses in Christchurch.

The Regional Responder course was structured to have both in-class and practical demonstrations of equipment owned by Maritime NZ and distributed into the regions, while the Senior Regional Responder course involved leadership and mentoring activities with more tactile learnings, including producing plans and briefing their teams. 

At the end of the courses, there were 18 newly qualified regional responders and eight senior regional responders. They're now available to respond to regional (tier 2) oil spills and to be called upon to assist in a national (tier 3) response. There are about 400 trained, regional responders nationwide and in a year, there might be 100-120 minor marine oil spills around the country, managed quickly by the council and those involved in the spill, and possibly 5-10 larger spills also managed by councils with at least some oversight from Maritime NZ.

Statement of Performance Expectations  out now

We're pleased to announce that the Statement of Performance Expectations for 2022/23 is now available on our website.

We produce the Statement of Performance Expectations annually to enable the Minister of Transport to participate in setting our annual non-financial and financial performance expectations. It describes our key focus areas for the upcoming year derived from our priorities, as well as the Ministers Expectations and wider government priorities.

Our new harm prevention approach will be a key focus, and will see increased emphasis on the safety of recreational craft users and port workers. Well use insights and intelligence to build an understanding of the causes of harm across sectors and help design interventions. This will be designed and delivered in partnership with the sector to ensure problems and solutions are jointly owned.

We'll also continue on our improvement pathway to shape what a good regulator looks like and to provide us with the necessary tools to build on our already solid foundations. We're making changes through Te Korowai o Kaitiakitanga, our organisational strategy, and it will continue to be a key priority for 2022/23. The name broadly translates as the cloak of stewardship, reflecting our role as strong stewards of the maritime domain. It will help us to be more responsive to the varied and changing needs of the maritime sector.

Read our Statement of Performance Expectations report for 2022/23.

Multiple failings across two trips by fishing company

A lack of training, instruction, and supervision for new staff and poor safety practices have been highlighted in the case of a fishing company sentenced recently in the Christchurch District Court.

Eureka Fishing Ltd and Hyun Gwan Choi (the husband of the director and who is responsible for the companys day-to-day business) have been sentenced for six charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act for incidents that occurred in late 2020 and early 2021.

The first incident saw two crew members on the vessel FV Remus exposed to risk of injuries with one suffering an infection due to prolonged handling of a particular species of fish. In the second, a teenage crew member lost the tips of two fingers in an incident involving a pulley.

Investigations Manager, Pete Dwen, says Maritime NZ is deeply disappointed in the safety practices of the company.

"The incidents highlight a number of failings; from a lack of information, training, instruction, and supervision, to being unable to offer adequate first aid equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) and not notifying Maritime NZ of the incident," he says.

"A significant part of working at sea is ensuring your people are well looked after. This includes ensuring vessels have the necessary PPE and medical capabilities should someone get injured, including a well-stocked first aid kit." 

Maritime NZ recommends operators get in touch with a local Maritime Officer if they have questions about how to operate safely.


Are there any particular topics or safety issues you'd like us to explore? We want to make sure our content is as relevant and interesting as possible, so if there's something you'd like to read about, we'd love to know.
Please email us at with 'SeaChange suggestions' as the subject line.

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