Regulation VIII/1, Code A-VIII/1 and B-VIII/1 of the STCW Convention, as amended in June 2010 (the Manila amendments), brought in new provisions on fitness for duty – alcohol limits.

To develop the survey, the surveyors conducted researches on drug and alcohol behaviour and attitudes in the fishing industry, to better acknowledge the effects of drugs into one's psychology.

Then, they ran a workshop to analyse the results of the research and decide on the approach and solution of the problem. As a result, Maritime New Zealand launched an online campaign to address their findings.

Amongst the findings, the campaign showed that:

  • cannabis use is higher among crews that aren't aware of their company's drugs and alcohol policy;
  • alcohol and cannabis are the most commonly used substances on board;
  • methamphetamine and cocaine use is rare, but they can be used ‘to stay awake’ and ‘because others are using it’;
  • the most common reason for using substances is enjoyment;
  • crews that are at sea for two or more days are more likely to take drugs on board than those that only spend one day at sea at a time.

Moreover, the research highlights that, if one discovers signs of drug use on your vessel, it's crucial that they take action. Talk to each member of the crew individually to:

  1. outline the vessel's drug policy
  2. determine whether they are using substances.

If they have a problem, support them in getting help.

Also, New Zealand authorities are conducting a series of random methamphetamine tests among Port Otago workers, as at least five persons operating heavy machinery were found positive for use of the drug at south east New Zealand's port in the last three months.

Overall, Maritime NZ is also beginning work on developing rules for drug and alcohol testing, a project which was on hold until a recent government decision.