New Zealand Law Society - Foreign charter vessels reflagged to NZ

Foreign charter vessels reflagged to NZ

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Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says that from 1 May 2016 all foreign charter fishing vessels have been required to reflag to New Zealand and operate under New Zealand's full legal jurisdiction.

The requirement comes from an amendment to section 103 of the Fisheries Act 1996 by the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill which was passed in 2014 and set a deadline of 1 May 2016 for all vessels to reflag to New Zealand.

Mr Guy says the legislation was part of a range of measures that followed a Ministerial inquiry in 2012 into questionable safety, labour and fishing practices on some foreign-owned vessels.

Measures already introduced include compulsory individual New Zealand bank accounts for crew members, observers on all foreign-owned fishing vessels, and independent audits of charter parties to ensure crew visa requirements are being adhered to.

The reflagging is carried out by Maritime New Zealand and requires operators to ensure fishing vessels fully comply with our maritime rules and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It also requires the crew to have appropriate New Zealand-equivalent qualifications.