Marine Oil Spills

As a Regional Authority, the Tasman District Council has trained staff and equipment available to respond to oil spills in the marine environment.  This page provides emergency contacts and outlines Council's response capabilities.

Emergency Contacts

If you see a vessel sinking or clearly in distress, dial the emergency services number: 111 (ask for the Police)

To report a marine oil spill around Tasman contact the Tasman District Council and ask to speak to the Regional On-Scene Commander or Harbourmaster: (03) 543 8400

Alternatively, contact the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand: 0508 472 269 (0800 4 RCCNZ) or (04) 914 8380

At sea, call the Maritime Operations Centre on VHF radio channel 16

Reporting marine pollution spills or discharges

Response Capability

The Council's response capability is maintained through partnerships with Nelson City Council, Maritime New Zealand and Port Nelson. There are three levels of oil spill incidents:

  Type of spill Responsibility
Tier 1 Small localised spills at site-specific locations such as at onshore or offshore oil transfer sites Industry
Tier 2 A small to moderate spill within the Territorial Sea (12 nautical miles) Regional Council
Tier 3 A large spill that is beyond the capability of the Regional Council or is outside the 12 nautical mile offshore boundary, and which requires a national response Maritime New Zealand

Tasman District Council maintains a contingency plan for responding to Tier 2 events. Oil spill preparedness is funded by the Oil Pollution Levy, which is paid by the industry sectors whose activities raise the risk of a marine oil spill. In the event of an oil spill, the polluter is liable for all costs associated with the response.

Staff and Exercises

The Tasman District Council has a number of staff that are trained in safely and effectively responding to Tier 2 events.  The staff are also trained to fit into a national Tier 3 response under the leadership of Maritime New Zealand, should it be necessary. 

Staff are trained to fill the following roles:

  • Regional On-Scene Commander - in charge of Tier 2 responses;
  • Planning - planning the strategy and logistics for the response;
  • Operations - responsible for conducting operations to contain and clean up the oil spill;
  • Health and Safety - ensure that any response is undertaken safely;
  • Wildlife - assessing and responding to oiled wildlife.

Regular exercises are held in locations such as Port Nelson and Port Tarakohe to ensure that staff are:

  • familiar with locations where spills may occur;
  • familiar and practiced in the use of the response equipment;
  • familiar with the other oil spill response staff from other local agencies (Nelson City Council and Port Nelson etc);
  • familiar and practiced in the methods, protocols and practicalities of responding to a Tier 2 event.

More Information