Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty
examination process, New Zealand will become party to Annex VI of MARPOL, an
International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention for the prevention of
pollution from ships.
“Joining this convention will improve the health and
environmental impact of shipping emissions, particularly around our port
communities,” Genter said.
“It will give Maritime NZ the power to inspect foreign ships
for compliance with new emission standards and take enforcement action if
She added that joining the convention will also enable New
Zealand to participate in negotiations related to new global greenhouse gas
emission maritime regulations.
As explained, the treaty examination process means that New
Zealand will become a signatory country to Annex VI of MARPOL in late 2021.
Stricter limits on sulphur limits would then apply to domestic ships from early
“The convention’s regulations limiting sulphur emissions
from shipping are due to come into force on January 1, 2020. However, as the
previous government did not initiate the process of signing up to this
convention, there will be a longer lead in time before these regulations apply
to domestic ships,” Genter further said.
First adopted in 1997, MARPOL Annex VI regulates atmospheric
emissions from ships. It will also be the platform for new IMO measures to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which are expected to be ready in
The most significant regulatory impact of Annex VI will be
new sulphur limits on marine fuel. The current sulphur limit of 3.5% by mass
for marine fuels will drop to 0.5% when new Annex VI regulations take effect
globally in less than a month.
All ships flagged to Annex VI party states visiting New
Zealand will have to comply with the new regulations from that date. Similarly,
New Zealand-flagged ships traveling to states that are party to Annex VI will
also have to comply.
Almost 100 countries representing 97 percent of global
freight capacity are already signatories to the convention.
New Zealand has joined more than 30 IMO treaties so far,
according to data provided by the IMO.