COVID-19: Maritime sector

Information and guidance for the maritime sector.

Last updated: 29 September 2020

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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.

Extended Notice of Arrival

The Extended Notice of Arrival is an important document that all ships coming into New Zealand will need to complete 7 days out from arrival.

The form can be downloaded, or completed online, and submitted to: [email protected].

Key elements of the Maritime Border Order

  • Bans foreign ships from arriving in New Zealand, with a range of exceptions, including
    • fishing ships and cargo ships
    • those that have been granted permission if there is a humanitarian reason or a compelling need for the ship to be delivered to a NZ business.
  • Requires the testing, isolation and quarantine of arriving crew. 
  • Requires most arrivals by sea to have quarantined or isolated on board their ship for at least 14 days since the last port of call or since it last took crew, and requires every person on board the ship to meet the low-risk indicators (including a negative COVID-19 test) before any person may enter the New Zealand community.
  • If persons arriving by sea cannot appropriately isolate or quarantine on board their ship, they will be transferred to a MIQ facility.
  • Introduces infringement offences under the COVID-19 Act.

Further information and guidance on the legal requirements that apply to all ships and crew that are in New Zealand or intending to come to New Zealand. 


Scenarios to assist with the isolation or quarantine process at the maritime border 

This advice updates scenarios for isolation and quarantine processes at the maritime border. This is a living document and will be updated and revised as the Order is implemented and processes are further refined.  

Please send any queries or comments to [email protected] 


Exemption for vessels to enter New Zealand

Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) Order 2020, foreign vessels are not permitted to arrive in New Zealand unless they have an exemption. 

Vessels may be exempt if there is a compelling need for the vessel to arrive in New Zealand for:

  • reprovisioning and/or refuelling OR 
  • the purpose of delivering the vessel to a business which includes for the purpose of repairing or refitting the vessel AND 
  • the Director-General has granted the vessel permission to arrive in New Zealand.

A vessel may also be exempt if the Director-General has granted permission for the vessel to arrive in New Zealand for humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs.

For clarity, humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs would be unlikely to include situations relating solely to financial loss, or to vessels travelling primarily for pleasure or convenience such as tourists or ‘wintering over’. People in vessels travelling to New Zealand to ‘winter over’ (eg, to avoid hurricane/cyclone season in the Pacific) may have other genuine humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs for coming, which would need to be demonstrated in order for these vessels to qualify for an exemption.

Exemptions should be sought and a decision received before the vessel departs for New Zealand. This will avoid the possibility of vessels needing to change plans mid-journey if the application is declined.

Applicants will also need to apply for and obtain Immigration New Zealand approval following approval for exemption from the Director-General of Health.  

To apply for an exemption to enter New Zealand please complete the following documents and email them to [email protected].

See also the process for exemption of vessels arriving in New Zealand.


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.

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