Carriage of dangerous goods at sea
The requirements for the transport of dangerous goods at sea are comprehensive and specific. They have to be, to effectively protect the lives of seafarers, the safety of vessels and the maritime environment. Read about the requirements below.

Multi-modal transport of dangerous goods

This document, sourced from the Ministry of Transport, gives guidance on the requirements for handling dangerous goods for all modes of transport including carriage by sea.

Multi-modal transport of dangerous goods  [PDF: 124Kb, x pages]

Maritime Rule Part 24A

Maritime Rule Part 24A sets out the responsibilities of seafarers, ship owners, shippers, consolidators and packers in respect of dangerous goods to be carried by sea. This rule makes mandatory in New Zealand, the packaging and stowage requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Maritime Rule Part 24A


The transportation, storage, importation, manufacture and use of explosives are now regulated under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. This Act is administered by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA).

Further information about managing explosives [ERMA]

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 [New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office]

Applying for an exemption

The Director of Maritime New Zealand may exempt a ship from complying with a maritime rule under certain special circumstances.

Applying for an exemption from a maritime rule

Reporting discharges and spills

All marine pollution discharges or accidental spills of harmful substances into New Zealand’s waters need reported immediately. Details of who to report an incident to are provided below.

Who to report discharges and spills to

There are three organizations you can report marine pollution and spills to:

  • The regional council responsible for the area where the spill occurred (see below)
  • Maritime New Zealand
  • Taupo Maritime Radio – phone +64 4 914 8333.

Contacting your local council

Wanganui District Council
101 Guyton Street

Mailing address: PO Box 637, Wanganui
Phone: 06 349 0001
Fax: 06 349 0000
Web Address:
Location: Map of Wanganui CBD

Rangitikei District Council
46 High Street,

Postal Address: Private Bag 1102, Marton 4741
Call Free: 0800 422 522
Phone: 06 327 0099
Fax: 06 327 6970

Taumarunui (Main Office)
59 – 63 Huia Street,
Taumarunui 3920

Postal: P O Box 1001, Taumarunui 3946
Phone:  07 895 8188
Fax: 07 895 3256
Opening Hours: Monday To Friday 8.00am – 5.00pm

Manawatu District Council
Private Bag 10001
Feilding 4743
Phone: 06 323 0000
Fax: 06 323 0822

Palmerston North District Council

Telephone: +64 (06) 356 8199
Fax: +64 (06) 351 4471

Please provide details of the incident such as:

  • when and where the incident occurred
  • the name of the vessel involved
  • the type and extent of pollution
  • any other information which you think maybe important.

Maritime New Zealand 24-hour number: New Zealand (toll free): 0508 472 269

Oil spills – take immediate steps

Any oil discharge or accidental spill of oil into the water must be reported immediately.

Vessel operators should make all reasonable attempts to stop the discharge and prevent oil reaching the marine environment. For example by plugging scuppers and collecting any oil from the deck. Where possible oil should be contained and recovered from the water.

Permitted versus illegal discharges and spills

While vessels are permitted to dispose of some types of waste at sea, there are strict requirements relating to the type of waste and the distance from land where the disposal may take place.

All pollution sightings should be reported. The appropriate authorities can then determine if the discharge or waste disposal is authorised.

New Zealand’s marine environment protection legislation, regulations and conventions place rules and limits on the discharge of harmful substances into the sea, from for example:

  • oil, including waste oil, fuel oil, sludge, lube oil and additives
  • chemicals
  • sewage
  • garbage including food, paper, bottles and plastics.

Marine environment protection legislation, regulations and conventions

Related links

Responding to spills and pollution

Marine environmental protection

Oil and oily waste

Sewage discharge regulations

Garbage disposal in the marine environment

Marine dumping

Chemicals and their risk to the Marine Environment

A wide variety of chemicals and other noxious liquid substances are shipped to, from and around New Zealand. Release of these chemicals into the marine environment could have serious effects.
Hazardous substances include foodstuffs like vegetable oils, by-products like tallow, and synthetic chemical raw materials (feedstocks) used for industrial processes.

Noxious liquid substances are traded in significant quantities worldwide, and the conditions of their carriage are governed by MARPOL 73/78 (the International Convention on Prevention of Pollution from Ships).

Within the 12 mile limit, there are no permitted discharges of noxious liquid substances from ships carrying these substances in bulk as cargo.

The Resource Management Act 1991 regulations cover discharges in the coastal marine area. The marine protection rules cover:

  • the type of ship that must be used to carry particular substances
  • permitted volumes of cargo residue that may be left in a tank before being washed (or ballasted)
  • the residues permitted to be discharged into the sea
  • shipboard records and emergency preparedness requirements.

To visit this link, go to:  Chemicals and their risk to the marine environment

Regulations, standards, legislation and conventions for the marine environment