What Maritime Levy changes came into effect on 1 July 2019?

All Maritime Levy payers are charged according to three factors:

  1. Gross Tonnage;
  2. Dead Weight Tonnage;
  3. Passenger Capacity.

Passenger capacity is now an important factor for all passenger vessels when calculating the Maritime Levy. This means that if a ship has a recorded passenger capacity that is much higher than the number of passengers it normally carries, then the Maritime Levy may be higher than what the operator is expecting.

What is the Maritime Levy used for?

The Maritime Levy (formally known as the Marine Safety Charge or the MSC) is paid by all commercial maritime operators to fund the regulatory system.The Maritime Levy applies to all New Zealand commercial vessels and foreign commercial vessels visiting New Zealand and must be paid to fund the regulatory system.


Funding from the Maritime Levy allows Maritime New Zealand to maintain important regulatory activities and functions that are critical to maritime safety and protection of the marine environment. In addition, it can be used to fund regulatory activities undertaken by the Authority, the Director, or the Crown in the performance or exercise of functions, duties, or powers under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

The activities and functions the Maritime Levy pays for includes

  • Participating in the technical work to develop, maintain and update international maritime conventions and agreements, and ensuring that New Zealand’s obligations under these conventions are incorporated into New Zealand legislation;
  • First port state control inspections of foreign vessels;
  • The provision of information and education to help commercial operators improve maritime safety and protection of the marine environment;
  • Investigations and compliance functions, including prosecutions;
  • Aids to navigation, and distress and safety communication (radio) services;
  • Assisted compliance functions including research, intelligence, issuing guidance and information;
  • Systemic risk activities such as targeted safety awareness and other campaigns and industry engagement;
  • Routine audits and inspections of domestic operators.

Other Maritime NZ activities are funded outside the Maritime Levy via other mechanisms, such as the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ), our Health and Safety At Work regulator role, recreational boating safety activities, oil pollution incident response activities, and direct regulatory activities to individuals and organisations (paid by fees).



How is my Maritime Levy invoice calculated?

The vessel categories that pay the levy are:

  • New Zealand non-SOLAS under 24 metres;
  • New Zealand non-SOLAS 24 metres and over;
  • New Zealand SOLAS;
  • Foreign non-Passenger;
  • Foreign Passenger.

The three factors used to calculate the levy payment for a vessel category are:

  1. Deadweight tonnage (DWT): If the vessel is New Zealand SOLAS or a Foreign vessel;
  2. Passenger capacity (Pax Cap): Pax Cap is the maximum passengers a vessel can carry and does not include crew or staff on board. If a vessel has more than one Pax Cap the highest one must be used. A vessel operating part-time/seasonally and not being full has already been assumed in the Pax Cap rate;
  3. Gross tonnage (GT) for all other vessel categories of 24 metres and above OR overall length in metres (Length) for New Zealand non-SOLAS under 24 metres.

Each of these factors has a different rate for each vessel category.

What does the Maritime Levy fund?

The Maritime Levy funds key elements of the maritime safety regulatory and response system and fees are charged for specific activities provided to individual operators and seafarers. The changes ensure that appropriate funding is in place for the next six years.