New Zealand – Biofouling risk management

20 April 2017

Members who call at ports in New Zealand should note that the New Zealand Authorities have recently introduced new Biofouling Guidelines to augment their existing 1993 legislation to prevent harmful aquatic species being introduced into the local ecosystem. These are defined in the 1993 legislation as organisms which “can or are potentially capable of causing unwanted harm to any natural and physical resources or human health”. 

The new Guidelines are currently voluntary and the requirement for international vessels arriving in New Zealand to have a “clean hull” only comes into force in May 2018. However, the New Zealand Authorities have powers to and will take action in cases of severe biofouling in the interim period. There have been two recent instances where the Authorities have ordered vessels from New Zealand waters because the hull fouling on the vessels was found to be excessive and/or contain what the New Zealand Authorities classified as ‘high risk organisms’ that may be harmful to the environment (eg. non-native plants and animals). In the most recent case, the vessel DL Marigold was declined permission to enter other South Pacific islands for cleaning purposes, and only allowed to return to Tauranga to complete discharge after the hull had been cleaned by divers in international waters. This was three weeks later and at considerable cost! 

Members are therefore recommended to be duly diligent in complying with the guidelines and legislation. Click here to view the New Zealand Authorities’ summary of the biofouling threshold for intervention.

For further information from the Correspondent, P&I Services, Auckland, including links to the new Biofouling Guidelines and other related information, click here.

For further information on biofouling on the International Maritime Organisation website, click here.