COVID-19: Maritime sector

Information and guidance for the maritime sector.

Last updated: 3 July 2020

On this page:


Maritime Border Order

The new Maritime Border Order provides clear and consistent rules for safe crew changes and the safe movement of cargo to and from New Zealand.

See more information on the Maritime Border Order - Epidemic Notice and Orders.

The Maritime Border Order will work alongside immigration rules, and both must be complied with.

Arriving vessels will still be required to meet New Zealand’s strict biosecurity requirements, to prevent the introduction of pests and plant and animal diseases to New Zealand.

Key elements of the Maritime Border Order

  • Extends the ban on cruise ships coming to New Zealand
  • New Zealand vessels are permitted as long as all persons on board meet immigration requirements
  • Bans foreign vessels, with a number of practical exemptions:
    • cargo ships delivering or picking up goods, fishing vessels unloading catch or changing crews, ships in distress and others specified in the Order
  • In exceptional circumstances ships that need repair, refuel, re-provisioning or refitting may also apply for exemption to enter New Zealand ports
  • Vessel movements entirely within New Zealand waters (ie, NZ port to NZ port) can be exempt from the Health Order, subject to certain restrictions.

Health specific information and guidelines for the Maritime sector

  • The 14-day quarantine and isolation rules apply and start from the time the vessel arrives in New Zealand’s territorial waters.
    • vessels that have been at sea for 28 consecutive days may be exempt from the Health Order, under certain circumstances
    • New Zealand Government ships, defence ships and foreign State/Government ships are exempt.
  • Isolation can be undertaken on the vessel, however individuals may be transferred to a Government managed isolation facility under certain circumstances.
  • Crew must report for and submit to COVID-19 testing if required to do so by a Medical Officer of Health
  • Crew may leave vessels to undertake essential tasks (eg, safety checks) but must stay in close proximity to the vessel and follow all health and safety rules, such as social distancing, PPE etc
  • Any crew arriving in New Zealand by air, for the purposes of a crew change to a vessel that is scheduled to leave New Zealand, must travel directly by private transport from the airport to the vessel (or to the managed isolation facility, if staying there) and follow rules around distancing and PPE, etc
  • Non-crew who board a vessel to undertake necessary tasks, such as a pilot, must follow all health and safety rules, such as physical distancing and use of PPE.

Quarantine/isolation process at the maritime border 

This advice covers the crew on vessels in distress, Antarctic ships, cargo and fishing vessels, and vessels entering New Zealand for re-provisioning, refuelling, or delivery to a business. Crew on other classes of vessels (for example, foreign State ships) will be managed on a case-by-case basis. 

This advice is a living document and will be clarified and updated as required. Some advice is still being developed. 

Please send any queries or comments to notifyenvhealth@health.govt.nz  


No Change of Health Status Report for Health Pratique form

Form for vessels arriving in New Zealand, updated to include questions relating to COVID-19.

Back to top