Maritime Transport Amendment Bill
Proposed Changes to Maritime Transport Act: oil pollution compensation, limitation regime, seafarer drug and alcohol management and other miscellaneous matters.
The Government has recently introduced the Maritime Transport Amendment Bill to amend aspects of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (MTA
). The Bill:
- Enables accession by New Zealand to the 2003 Protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 (Supplementary Fund Protocol). This will allow access to the further tier of compensation available under the Supplementary Fund Protocol in the event of a major oil tanker spill. Consequential amendments are also made to the Maritime Transport (Fund Convention) Levies Order 1996 including to require that persons receiving more than 150,000 tons of “contributing oil” must contribute annual levies to the Supplementary Fund.
- Makes provision for New Zealand to exercise its right to make reservations under the 1976 Limitation Convention as amended by the 1996 Protocol (Limitation Convention), so that claims for wreck and cargo removal and claims for damage under the Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances at Sea are excluded from the Limitation Convention limits. Additionally the Bill makes it clear that the limitation provisions in the Limitation Convention do not affect anything in the Accident Compensation Act 2001; Part 16 of the MTA (which incorporates the Hague – Visby Rules relating to international carriage of goods by sea into New Zealand law); the Carriage of Goods Act 1979 and Parts 18 to 26A of the MTA which deal with liability for marine pollution and related matters. The aim is to increase the pool of funds potentially available to meet pollution claims and is no doubt a consequence of the “Rena” grounding in October 2011.
- Enacts a requirement for commercial maritime operators to implement drug and alcohol management plans and provides for random drug and alcohol testing of seafarers carrying out “safety – sensitive” activities and for the consequences of failing or refusing a test.
- Amongst various miscellaneous provisions:
- Allows foreign flagged ships to carry cargo between mainland New Zealand and non-mainland ports, including to and from the Chatham Islands.
- Enables territorial authorities to transfer responsibilities relating to maritime activity to council controlled organisations and port operators and to transfer powers to carry out certain harbour works to other public authorities.
The Bill is now at the first reading stage and we expect it will be referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee for consideration in due course.
Image courtesy of Doniree Walker