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New Zealand’s Fuel Security At Risk

The Maritime Union says New Zealand should not rely on assurances of international fuel companies about our fuel security, as the fallout from the closure of Marsden Point refinery continues.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says concerns expressed by industry researchers about New Zealand’s fuel stockpiles and energy security must be listened to.

Responding to recent claims by Z Energy about fuel security, Mr Harrison says the language used by Z Energy spokespeople was opaque, and admitted the possibility of risks with the closure of Marsden Point and a major shift in the fuel supply chain.

He says there needs to be a Government plan for fuel security for New Zealand that has an element of redundancy built into it.

The closure of Marsden Point refinery is one risk factor affecting fuel security, but a related threat is the plan to remove New Zealand flagged coastal tankers from operation in favour of deliveries to New Zealand ports by international vessels, says Mr Harrison.

“We need the Government to declare if it has a position about the retention of the New Zealand flagged tankers in the interests of New Zealand.”

“The main lesson from the current disruption to global supply chains in the post-COVID era is New Zealand cannot rely on overseas shipping operators.”

Mr Harrison says New Zealand coastal tankers ensured a reliable regular service with a very strong safety record, and provided a backup option for emergency fuel deliveries, such as during the 2017 Auckland pipeline failure.

An unplanned for disruption of fuel supplies to regional New Zealand through global crisis or natural disaster would crash the economy, he says.

Two New Zealand flagged and New Zealand crewed coastal tankers currently operate on the New Zealand coast, the MT Kokako and the MT Matuku.

The vessels are managed by New Zealand operator Silver Fern Shipping Limited and owned by international operator ASP Ship Management Group, which charters them to Coastal Oil Logistics Limited (COLL).

COLL transports petroleum products from Marsden Point to New Zealand ports on behalf of its shareholders BP, Mobil and Z.

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