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September 2022

Maritime NZ: Sea Change June 2022 newsletter - NZ Maritime border opens

by Maritime NZ 5 Jul 21:05 PDT 6 July 2022
The Ops Room at Maritime NZ © MNZ
Latest issue of SeaChange June 2022
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Issue 90

June 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

Were halfway through the year and as youll read in this issue theres a huge amount being delivered across a number of areas in Maritime NZ.
We are pleased to see the maritime border reopening more broadly to passengers and specialist vessels on 31 July. This has been a lot of work and a collaborative effort between border agencies and the sector and we thank those involved for their time and effort.
This SeaChange also includes another big milestone with New Zealands accession to MARPOL Annex VI, something which will reduce emissions from shipping in New Zealand, and position New Zealand well to support appropriate low carbon shipping on the international stage.
Another highlight are two stories about the efforts of our Rescue Coordination Centre NZ staff who provide life-saving assistance 24/7, 365 days of the year when distress beacons are activated.

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

  • COVID-19 update
  • Port safety update
  • Meet our crew - Hannah Martis
  • Two collaborative rescues save lives in the Pacific 
  • Maritime NZs notifications summary data easier to access and use
  • "Beacons are probably the best life insurance policy you can get."
  • Updated guidance for parasailing operators
  • MARPOL Annex VI: Highlight on ozone depleting substance requirements
  • Pacific Maritime Safety Programme funding approved for another four years
  • Annual levy invoices
  • Enforceable undertaking funds new fishing industry training

Ng mihi
Kirstie Hewlett
Director and Chief Executive

COVID-19 update

The Maritime Border Programme involves a number of border agencies working together to ensure the maritime border is able to receive all vessels from 11:59pm July 31. This will enable the return of cruise ships, recreational vessels and specialist vessels.
Cruise vessels will begin arriving when the season begins early October so the work will not finish on July 31. Efforts will continue to ensure pre-pandemic processes are back in place to process passengers as well as new practices brought about by the current COVID-19 settings.
We will be working alongside the maritime industry and other stakeholders throughout July as preparations continue to reconnect New Zealand to the world.  

Other important developments over June include: 
  • The Required Testing Order (RTO) will be revoked on Thursday 30 June 2022. This means after 30 June, maritime border workers no longer need to test for COVID-19 under the public health response.This will be welcome news to those who have been testing for some time now and we thank you for your commitment which has helped keep all New Zealanders  safe.
  • Pre-departure test to enter NZ removed. On Monday 20 June 2022 the Government removed the need for travellers to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to enter New Zealand. This will make it easier for travellers to enter the country, especially for seafarers entering New Zealand for crew changes.
  • Winter wellness. With COVID-19 in the community, this time of year takes on greater significance for the vulnerable in our society. Many people are now eligible for a second booster and many of them are among the more vulnerable, and a 4th shot will provide further protection against Omicron. Now is a good time to remember the protections that have served us so well, even more so with the flu season upon us. Stay at home if you are unwell or have symptoms and get a COVID-19 test. Make sure you and your whnau are up to date with all available vaccinations against infectious diseases like flu, measles, mumps and rubella, chicken pox and whooping cough. And remember, if your symptoms worsen or you are concerned about the health of someone you care for, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453, or your doctor. 
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 safety update

In the May issue of SeaChange, I described the work underway after the Minister of Transport requested action be taken to address risks at ports across New Zealand. I undertook to provide you updates about this work programme, which is in three parts:
  • Port Health and Safety Leadership Group advice
  • assessments at ports
  • statutory investigations.
Id like to again thank everyone involved port companies, stevedoring firms, unions for your cooperation and commitment to this important work.

Port Health and Safety Leadership Group advice

This advice will be the central piece of work from the Ministers request. It will advise the Minister about key actions for the future and provide an indicative work plan to improve safety in ports, including whether regulatory standards are required. Its expected to be completed by around October.

The advice is being developed through three work streams: 1, data and insights; 2, exploring good practice and potential interventions; and 3, developing actions and work-plan.

1: Data and insights are being gathered by bringing together and analysing information from a range of data sources, including regulators, unions, stevedores and ports.

2: Examples of good practice are being collected from New Zealand and overseas. They include interventions to reduce harm, such as approved codes of practice (ACOP), training, education, safety design and equipment, and leadership and worker initiatives. The sector is also encouraged to share insights and examples of good practice with us by emailing 

3: The action areas and indicative work-plan will be developed from the data and insights and good practice work streams. Maritime NZ, WorkSafe, ports, stevedoring companies, unions and workers will be using a series of face-to-face and online workshops to, together, assess all the information gathered, provide the advice requested and develop the work plan.

Assessments at ports

Following the assessment visits to ports three types of reports will be produced. They will be:
  • for individual PCBUs about their own operations (other PCBUs and unions are not sent these reports)
  • 13 port summaries, one about each port (will be sent to all PCBUs and unions at that port)
  • a national summary across all the ports (will be sent to all involved).
Each PCBU is being asked to comment on the reports about its operations other PCBUs and unions are not sent these reports. The port reports will be sent to all PCBUs and unions working at the relevant ports. All PCBUs and unions involved will have the opportunity to comment on the national summary which will form part of the data and insights picture.

We are currently at the stage of sending the PCBU reports to each PCBU, and receiving and considering their feedback. After that feedback has been received, the port summaries will be drafted and sent to the relevant PCBUs and unions for comment.

Statutory investigations

The investigations being carried out by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) and Maritime NZ are continuing.

Again, Ill continue to keep you regularly updated.
Kirstie Hewlett, Director, Maritime NZ

Meet our crew

Hannah Martis, Manager Compliance Systems, Planning and Projects

I love that I am able to contribute to making New Zealands marine environment a safe place to play and operate.

Hannah brought a diverse skillset to her work with Maritime NZ when she joined five years ago. She loves the organisations culture, its people and working collaboratively to strengthen maritime safety.

Hannah tells us about her journey to Maritime NZ and what keeps her engaged.


Two collaborative rescues save lives in the Pacific 

The operations room at Maritime NZ's Rescue Coordination Centre
Maritime NZ's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) recently played a key role in rescuing 11 people around the Pacific over just a few days.

RCCNZ's coverage area goes down as far as the South Pole and extends nearly up to the Equator. It responds to approximately 1200 search and rescue incidents each year.

During the period 21-24 May two responses saw 11 people rescued from three vessels.

While this is the work our people are trained to do, it's always fantastic to see positive results come from such complex missions and I'm proud of the work our operational staff put in. Rescue Coordination Centre and Safety Services Manager, Justin Allan says. It was also a great example of collaboration with our partners, both here and internationally. 

The first rescue occurred off the coast of American Samoa. RCCNZ received an activation from a US-coded beacon positioned 11 nautical miles east of American Samoa. US Coast Guard in Pago Pago (American Samoa) was contacted for support and tasked a vessel. Coast Guard in Honolulu provided registration details for the 36 foot vessel. The vessel was en route back from an outlying island, about 60 miles away.

A vessel with a helicopter on board heard the communications and tasked its helicopter to investigate. The helicopter found the vessel capsized with four people in the water. They directed the marine patrol vessel and it rescued those four people.

It's always really special knowing the work we do ensures people can get home safely, after being lost at sea, Justin says.

The second involved two vessels off Kiribati.  It was a multi-day operation, which saw seven people rescued off two vessels, and included support from the New Zealand Defence Force.

RCCNZs initial involvement was looking for a vessel with three people onboard, while a second operation was getting underway with the US Coastguard looking for another vessel with three onboard.

The NZDF managed to track down both vessels - "an amazing job, as the possible search area was over thousands of nautical miles." Justin says. Survival packs were dropped and nearby vessels were contacted to rescue those onboard.

Our team is proud to be involved in successful rescues like these, Justin says.

Maritime NZs notifications summary data easier to access and use

Maritime NZ has made accident, incident and mishap notification data more user-friendly to aid safety management decision making.

The latest data release replaces the previous PDF summary reports in a new open-data format in line with Government Open Data policies, and the Transport Evidence Base Strategy (TEBS), to which Maritime NZ is a signatory, and the Transport Sector Open Data Framework.

Our ongoing commitment to improve the quality and availability of data and support harm reduction in the sector also played a part in the change, as well as feedback from industry participants.

This data helps to inform our understanding of the nature of accidents, incidents and mishaps that occur to vessels and people operating in New Zealand waters, and is used to guide policy decisions and compliance interventions to reduce harm and improve safety. It includes a summary of the notifications of accidents, incidents and mishaps that have been made to Maritime New Zealand in accordance with Section 31 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and Section 56 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which have been recorded in our database.

The data release published on our website, covers the period 1 January 31 December 2021. We will update this six-monthly with the next release due in November, which will cover the six months from 1 January to 30 June 2022. We're also working towards reviewing the notifications received up to December 2020 and releasing this in the same format.

See the latest update

Beacons are probably the best life insurance policy you can get.

Pete Mesleys trip to dive with whale sharks, giant mantas and hammerheads near remote islands off the coast of Mexico was a mind-blowing experience.

But when that experience became an emergency, luckily he kept his head. And his New Zealand-registered locator beacon handy.

The Kiwi diver runs Lust4Rust and Shock&Awe Big Animal Diving Excursions, helping clients get close to some of the globes largest marine creatures and shipwrecks. Thats what he was doing last month in the Revillagigedo Islands, nearly 580km west of Mexico.

We'd just finished two days on Roco Partida, he says. This place was going off... a humpback whale and her calf, false killer whales and schooling tuna.

But the adventure took a terrifying turn as their boat, with 14 passengers and 11 crew, ploughed into Socorro Island, 320km from the Mexico coast. Passengers were screaming as the listing vessel was lifted by the waves and smashed into the rocks.

Crew called a nearby naval base for help, the life raft was deployed, and Pete grabbed his personal locator beacon.

About 10,000 kilometres away, Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) was alerted through a global satellite system that raises the alarm for authorities in the country where the PLB is registered.

Senior Search and Rescue Officer Nick Burt says the RCCNZ responded by contacting rescue officials in the United States and Mexico to make sure help was on the way. Later they updated Petes family.

Nick says alerts from so far away are not common, but are a reminder of the value of PLBs as a safety tool. We'd definitely encourage anybody participating in remote activities to carry a COSPAS-SARSAT distress beacon, whether in New Zealand or overseas.

Pete agrees. Its a no-brainer for me. They're probably the best life insurance policy you can ever get. Its reassuring to know that even if I am 7000 miles away from home, there are people dedicated to ensuring my health and safety.

Updated guidance for parasailing operators

Credit: Flying Kiwi Parasail
Maritime NZ has worked with industry and researched good practice overseas to produce new guidance for New Zealands parasailing operators.

The updated 2022 guidance builds on the 2014 Health and Safety Guidelines for Commercial Parasailing Operations and brings the industry in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Juanita Fraser, from our Regulatory Guidance Design team, says the guidance offers plain-language advice and practical examples to help parasailing operators ensure the health and safety of workers and customers, and protect others they come into contact with.

The industry supported that work, with Flying Kiwi Parasail in the Bay of Islands providing feedback. Maritime NZ also looked overseas for examples of good practice.

The guidance advises operators of their responsibilities under the Maritime Rules and the Civil Aviation Rules. It also encourages them to think about things that could go wrong and to eliminate these risks or, if they can't be eliminated, to put in place control measures to minimise them. 

Read guidance 

MARPOL Annex VI: Highlight on ozone depleting substance requirements

In last months SeaChange, we described the new requirements for minimising the emissions of sulphur oxides (SO) from ship engines. MARPOL Annex VI also regulates a group of substances classified internationally as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
These manufactured gases have historically been used in some fire-fighting appliances, and in refrigeration, heating, ventilation and cooling systems. When released into the air, ODS damage the ozone layer the layer of gas in the upper atmosphere that plays a key role in protecting life on earth from the damaging effects of the suns ultra-violet radiation.
Some older ships still have installed ODS systems. These systems may be recharged with additional gas, but deliberate release of ODS into the air is prohibited. If a ship needs to dispose of ODS from the system, or decommission the system, the ODS must be disposed of at a port reception facility.
Here is a high level summary of the new ODS requirements.

New Zealand is party to international treaties for the phase-out and phase-down of ODS, including the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and its 1987 Montreal Protocol. Annex VI provides a further dimension to existing legislation implementing international controls on ODS. The new requirements strengthen compliance oversight of the New Zealand shipping sector, as well as enabling Maritime NZ to ensure that visiting foreign ships comply.

Pacific Maritime Safety Programme funding approved for another four years

New Zealand will continue to support maritime safety in the Pacific through the provision of $12 million funding over the next four years for the Pacific Maritime Safety Programme (PMSP).

The programme delivers maritime safety initiatives to seven Pacific Island countries - Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The funding, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026, marks the fourth phase of the programme.

The PMSP is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade programme, funded through the International Development Cooperation programme and delivered by Maritime NZ.


Annual levy invoices

Annual domestic levy invoices for the Maritime Levy and Oil Pollution Levy (for applicable vessels) will be sent to all commercial operators via mail in late June/early July. If you havent received levy invoices by 13 July, please contact and we can email you copies. Further information on levies will be enclosed with your invoices, and you can also visit our website.

Enforceable undertaking funds new fishing industry training

An enforceable undertaking between Maritime NZ and a South Island fishing company and its director is funding training to help reduce the number of collisions involving watch keeping failures.

The enforceable undertaking with the fishing company Pegasus Fishing Ltd and its director, Antony Threadwell, follows a collision outside the entrance to Lyttelton in January 2020 between a 180-metre bulk carrier, Rose Harmony, and a 24-metre fishing vessel, Leila Jo, operated by Pegasus.

The $175,000 undertaking will fund watch keeping training at the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School and through the development of two MarineSafe online health and safety training modules..

Maritime NZ Investigation Manager, Pete Dwen, said a watchkeepers role is to monitor for risks. Vessels should ensure someone is always on watch in that role.


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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