COVID-19: Maritime sector

Information and guidance for the maritime sector.

New Zealand’s maritime border reopened to foreign-flagged vessels, including cruise ships, at 11:59pm 31 July 2022.

More information for small craft and private yachts is now available from the New Zealand Customs Service.

Last updated: 2 August 2022

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Maritime Border Order

The Maritime Border Order (MBO) provides clear and consistent rules for passengers and ships’ crew to enter New Zealand by sea, while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Maritime Border Order works alongside immigration rules, and both must be complied with. Arriving vessels are also required to meet New Zealand’s strict biosecurity requirements, to prevent the introduction of pests and plant and animal diseases to New Zealand.

The Maritime Border Order works in conjunction with other COVID-19 orders such as the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021. These should all be taken into account to understand New Zealand’s maritime border settings. Failure to comply with the MBO or any other domestic requirements may result in infringements being issued.

Changes to the Maritime Border Order mean that from 31 July 2022, foreign-flagged vessels are once again permitted to enter New Zealand. However, the MBO creates two categories for arrivals, based on vessel function ― with different requirements for vaccination, and the testing of passengers and crew.

Guidance on the key changes brought about by the Amendment Order can be found below:

Extended Notice of Arrival

The Extended Notice of Arrival (ENA) form is an important document that needs to be completed for all vessels coming into New Zealand. It needs to be sent to us between 168 and 192 hours (7-8 days) before arrival in New Zealand territorial waters (12 nautical miles).

An ENA may be submitted outside these times if it is not practicable to give between 168 and 192 hours’ notice, for example:

  • You will be at sea more than 192 hours (8 days) before arrival and do not have the ability to transmit the ENA en route; or
  • You anticipate that your voyage will be shorter than 168 hours (7 days) in duration.

In such cases the ENA should be submitted upon departure from your last port of call before arriving in New Zealand.

The owner/master of the vessel must complete and submit the ENA form (along with all other required documentation) before arriving in New Zealand. The ENA is a legal requirement, and the master of the ship is liable for prosecution for not submitting the ENA in the required timeframe or for not providing the ENA in the specified form and manner.

Submitting the ENA

The ENA forms can be saved to a device and completed digitally or filled out and scanned as a hard copy.

There are different information requirements for category 1 vessels, and category 2 vessels. Please ensure you complete the correct form for your vessel. If you are unsure which category your vessel is please refer to the Key Changes Document.

Category 1 vessels

Extended Notice of Arrival Form (Excel, 23 KB)

For commercial, cargo, fishing, specialist and military vessels, the form must be completed in full and emailed to [email protected]

Category 2 vessels

Extended Notice of Arrival Form (Excel, 29 KB)

For recreational vessels, yachts and small craft, the form must be emailed to [email protected]. Cruise ships must complete the form in full and emailed to [email protected]

Advanced Notice of Arrival

The Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA) form needs to be completed by the owner/master of the vessel and submitted at least 48 hours before arrival in New Zealand territorial waters – 12 nautical miles.

The ANA is a legal requirement and the owner/master is liable to prosecution for not submitting the ANA in the required timeframe and for not providing the ANA in the specified form and manner.

Submitting the ANA

  • For commercial vessels and cruise ships, the form must be completed in full and emailed to [email protected]
  • For recreational vessels, yachts and small craft, the form must be emailed to [email protected]

ANA forms:

No Change of Health Status Report for Health Pratique form

Form for all vessels (Categories 1 and 2)  arriving in New Zealand, updated to include questions relating to COVID-19.

Further information about the Pratique process can be found here: Requirements for Ships to Receive Pratique.

Household Contacts

If someone is considered the equivalent of a ‘Household Contact’ they are required to self-isolate for a period of 7 days. Who is considered a Household Contact differs depending on the type of the vessel they are on.  

Category 1 vessels – all those (crew and passengers) on board the same vessel are required to self-isolate as a ‘Household Contact’ for 7 days, unless otherwise directed by a Medical Officer of Health.

Category 2 vessels – If the place of self-isolation is a cruise ship, then anyone who shares a cabin with someone testing positive for COVID-19 is classified as a household contact and required to self-isolate for 7 days. For persons self-isolating on board any other ship (e.g. a leisure craft), the whole ship is classified as a household contact and all travellers must self-isolate for 7 days.

All Household Contacts are required to undertake a RAT on Days 3 and 7 of the isolation period (or sooner if symptoms develop). The period of isolation ends if the Household Contact(s) returns a negative Day 7 test and do not have any new or worsening symptoms.

A person is not a household contact if they have recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days prior to being exposed to COVID-19. Full information on the self-isolation requirements for positive cases and Household Contacts can be found here.

Category 1 health requirements

All vessels that are not classed as Category 2 are classed as Category 1. These include commercial craft such as freight (cargo) ships, fishing vessels, fuel ships, dredges, research vessels, foreign-state vessels with diplomatic status and ferries returning to New Zealand following repairs or maintenance.

Health requirements for passengers and crew on Category 1 vessels:

  • Passengers and crew on Category 1 vessels are required to test, using Rapid Antigen Tests, if they are planning to disembark their ship.
  • However, Category 1 passengers and crew continue to not be required to be vaccinated.

Reporting COVID-19 test results for crew and passengers disembarking Category 1 vessels

Crew and passengers who wish to disembark Category 1 vessels to enter the community must undergo a test prior to disembarking. This test is referred to as their Day 0/1 test. If the crew member is still in the community or is planning to disembark the ship more than 120 hours after their first test, they will be required to complete a second test (a Day 5/6 test). The Day 5/6 test must be taken between 120-140 hours after the first test was done, and can be taken while in the community or on the ship.

The ship’s master must notify the relevant Medical Officer of Health of the results of all mandatory COVID-19 testing that is undertaken on board the ship.

Please record your test results in this template: Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) results (Excel, 20 KB)

Crew and passengers still in (or accessing) the community (e.g. on extended shore leave or off-signers waiting to depart New Zealand) on Day 5/6 (120 hours after disembarking) should have their RAT kit with them to self-administer the test. They must report their test result to the COVID-19 Test Results Line on 0800 432 010.

In specific situations, crew members on board a vessel who are self-isolating may be permitted to disembark, for example, to undertake essential permitted movements. In doing so, they will be required under 13A(3) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self-isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022 to take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. This includes by remaining as close as is reasonably practicable to the ship; by maintaining physical distancing and wearing PPE while performing essential tasks. A list of essential tasks can be found in the Maritime Border Order.

The Vessel Management Framework

The Vessel Management Framework has been designed to provide consistent procedures and processes to manage Category 1 vessels where there are known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on board. It has been developed to manage the public health risks posed by vessels liable to quarantine in a consistent and collaborative manner, and with the authorisation of public health officials.

All arriving Category 1 vessels are liable to quarantine until cleared by the health authorities, at which point pratique (approval to enter port) is granted. However, should a crew member test positive for COVID-19 after pratique has been granted, or pratique is not granted due to COVID-19 on board, this guidance can be followed to facilitate safe maritime cargo operations. It can be used to manage COVID-19 risks in all cases where a vessel is liable to quarantine (under the Health Act), or a crew member is required to isolate (under the relevant COVID-19 legislation).

The guidance has been prepared for port operators, unions, agents, government agencies and Public Health Units to follow whenever a Category 1 vessel remains liable to or is placed in quarantine or a crew member is isolating on board. The framework clarifies the roles and responsibilities for all parties involved, and provides a process map and templates to guide users for safe cargo operations and pilotage when COVID-19 is known or suspected to be on board.

Find the guidance on Maritime New Zealand

Category 2 health requirements

Category 2 includes all cruise ships, super yachts, and recreational vessels.

Health requirements for passengers and crew on Category 2 vessels:

  • Passengers and crew on Category 2 vessels are required to be vaccinated, unless otherwise exempt or excused.

Passengers and crew arriving on Category 2 vessels must be vaccinated before they arrive in New Zealand, unless they are excused or exempt. Full definitions of ‘excused’ and ‘exempt’ can be found in clause 12 of the Order.

View a list of which COVID-19 vaccines are currently accepted by the New Zealand government.

Proof of vaccination for eligible travellers on Category 2 vessels

Category two arrivals will need to present proof of vaccination when requested by a health protection officer or an enforcement officer. The evidence may be in paper or digital form, and full details of what must be contained in the evidence (such as brand of vaccine, date of doses etc) can be found here: Evidence of Vaccination for the Purpose of the Maritime Border Order.

Failure to produce satisfactory evidence is an infringeable offence.

If a Category 2 arrival tests positive for COVID-19, they will be subject to the same self-isolation requirements as people in the New Zealand community. The ship remains the primary place for a maritime arrival to isolate if they are COVID-positive or considered a Household Contact.

Those affected are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days. If the person has any new or worsening symptoms after 7 days, they are expected to stay in self-isolation until 24 hours after their symptoms resolve.

Cases and Household Contacts can leave their place of isolation for a number of reasons as detailed in part 3 and 3(A) of the Self Isolation and Permitted Work Order.

Guidance for recreational vessels, small craft and yacht arrivals in New Zealand

Information for the owners and operators of recreational vessels, small craft and yacht arrivals who are considering travelling to New Zealand while the Maritime Border Order is in effect is available from the New Zealand Customs Service website.

Information for cruise ship operators/masters of Category 2 vessels can be found on the New Zealand Customs Service website.

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