Specifically, Mexico and New Zealand are the only countries in the OECD not signed up to MARPOL Annex VI, of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, which has 91 signatory nations.

The Ministry of Transport announced in November it was seeking public and sector input into a decision on whether New Zealand should sign Annex VI of the treaty.

Mainly, Annex VI reduced shipping emissions by controlling the sulphur content of fuel.

Domestic and international vessels that were entering New Zealand met the current Annex VI standards of 3.5% sulphur content. From 2020 the standard required by MARPOL would drop to 0.5%.

Captain Paul Keating, chairman of Guardians of the Sounds, commented that its a positive sign that the council proceeds to reducing shipping emissions.

As a community and actually as a country, we should be complying to MARPOL, particularly Annex VI.

... the Chairman highlighted.

New Zealand's past decision not to comply with MARPOL had resulted in pollution of the environment, he added.

In addition, Port Marlborough chief executive Rhys Welbourn commented that New Zealand's accession to Annex VI was consistent with their vision of "environmental leadership.

He continued that applying with Annex VI means that New Zealand will align with the global criteria, and will stop the phenomenon where different regions apply different criteria to visiting vessels.

Marlborough District Council environmental scientist Sarah Brand reported that the ministry would get air pollution restrictions over the line, before working on sewage, or Annex IV.

For Marlborough, the benefits will be in Picton and the Marlborough Sounds area. Currently, there are no regulations, they can use whatever fuel type they like when they come in.

... Brand noted.

Concluding, the council approved the recommendation to submit on Annex VI at a planning and finances committee meeting.