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Environmental issues discussed with cruise ship companies

Environmental issues discussed with cruise ship companies

Hitchhiking organisms and watching out for whales were on the agenda when Environment Southland met with cruise ship industry representatives in the USA, in March.

Southland Maritime Manager and Harbourmaster Kevin O'Sullivan said he was there to provide an environmental perspective on operational matters for Cruise New Zealand and as an advocate for Environment Southland.

Mr O’Sullivan said that top of the list of environmental issues he discussed with cruise lines was the Biofouling Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) released by the Ministry for Primary Industries. The CRMS, which comes into effect in May 2018, will apply to all arriving vessels to address the risk of harmful organisms hitching a ride on hulls, ropes and other equipment. Such organisms pose a serious threat to Fiordland’s pristine waters.

“We offered to work with the cruise lines to come up with a workable system that will meet New Zealand requirements on biofouling, and minimise any risks to Fiordland’s biosecurity.”

Kevin O’Sullivan said the cruise lines were also keen for an update on the protocol introduced late last year in the Hauraki Gulf to minimise the risk to the resident population of Bryde’s whales.

The voluntary Hauraki Gulf Transit Protocol for Commercial Shipping has been developed jointly by Ports of Auckland and the shipping industry. Its aim is to reduce the number of collisions between whales and large ships and the impact of any collisions.

Ships are asked to plan their voyage to ensure they: allow for lower speeds in the gulf when possible; use the recommended approach to the Ports of Auckland; keep watch for whales and take avoidance action if whales are sighted; and report whale sightings to Ports of Auckland Harbour Control.

“Cruise lines agreed to reduce speed through the Hauraki Gulf whenever possible and would consider how this might affect their scheduling,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

ENDS

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