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 necessary.”
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 2022.
“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 2023.
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.