News & Media

04 December, 2019

Associate Minister of Transport media release: NZ to Join IMO convention to reduce ship emissions

Martime NZ notice - Associate Minister of Transport media release: NZ to Join IMO convention to reduce ship emissions


Today, the Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter, confirmed that New Zealand will ratify the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s convention setting out requirements for the prevention of air pollution from ships. 
You can read the Associate Minister’s media release here
The Minister said she expects New Zealand to formally sign up to Annex VI of the over-arching marine pollution convention, MARPOL, in late 2021. The new Maritime Rules implementing Annex VI in New Zealand are then expected to come into force in early 2022. This will give owners and operators who are affected time to prepare.
This annex to the IMO convention regulates a range of air emissions from ships, for the purpose of limiting ozone depleting substances, risks to human health, and contributions to climate change.   
One of the primary controls is the reduction of sulphur in fuel. Annex VI will require all ships to comply with a reduced sulphur limit for fuel, from the current limit of 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent. Ships can also comply by using an exhaust gas cleaning system (“scrubber”) to reduce sulphur emissions to a level equivalent to burning fuel with less than 0.5 percent sulphur content.
It is likely that the large majority of New Zealand vessels already comply as they use automotive diesel, which is ultra-low in sulphur content. However, there will be some New Zealand vessels that will need to change their fuel to comply with the convention. 
Maritime NZ’s role will be to work with the Ministry of Transport and consult with the maritime industry and other interested parties to help draft the new Maritime Rules. The Maritime Rules will set out the detail of how New Zealand will apply the convention and what vessel owners and operators will have to do to comply. 
Maritime NZ will make this work a priority and will keep the maritime sector well-informed of how it, and the Ministry, will work toward implementation of Annex VI.
As the Minister made her announcement only today, the details of the Rule-making process are not yet finalised. However, they will be made public as soon as they are confirmed so that all stakeholders who wish to take part can be involved. 
If you have any questions about how Maritime NZ will develop the new Maritime Rules, please email 
Yours Faithfully
Craig Hill
Acting Manager, Regulatory Policy