All vessels arriving in New Zealand must report to health authorities about the health conditions on board during the voyage and the health status of passengers and crew.
A Maritime Declaration of Health is the form used to provide such information. It covers:
- details of the ship
- status of any Ship Sanitation Certification
- number of passengers
- previous ports visited
- health questions, including whether:
- anyone has died on board
- anyone is sick
- there is any case of disease which could be infectious
- there is any condition that could lead to the spread of disease.
This information ensures compliance with Article 37 of the International Health Regulations 2005.
A Maritime Declaration of Health must be completed by all first porting vessels, even if there is no illness on board. The Maritime Declaration of Health must be completed by the Master of the vessel and countersigned by the ship’s surgeon if there is one. It should be completed and provided to the Medical Officer of Health or a health protection officer when the Advance Notice of Arrival form is submitted. In practice, completed Maritime Declarations of Health are often sent to the vessel’s agent for forwarding to health authorities.
Any illness reported on the Maritime Declaration of Health should have been declared on the Advance Notice of Arrival. If illness occurs after the Maritime declaration of Health has been submitted but prior to berthing this must be reported when the ‘no change of health status’ form is submitted, or directly to the Medical Officer of Health or a health protection officer. Where an illness is reported, an amended Maritime Declaration of Health should be provided to a health protection officer or Medical Officer of Health.