Case study: Environment Southland’s Deed of Agreement for cruise ships

In 1997 a study into the environmental impacts of tourism on the inland waters of the Southland region identified cruise ships as presenting the greatest threat to the area. A key area of concern was the pollution resulting from the discharge of wastes into both water and air. 2982  Environment Southland (Southland Regional Council) responded by introducing the Deed of Agreement which is a contract between the council and individual cruise ships. The Deed of Agreement for cruise ships wishing to enter the Fiords was introduced through the Regional Coastal Plan in 2001. Section 13 of the Regional Coastal Plan deals with cruise ships operating in the internal waters of the Southland region, and cruise ships either require a resource consent, or they are required to sign the Deed of Agreement with Environment Southland. 2983

The agreement places environmental obligations on all vessels visiting the Sounds, including requirements for waste discharge. 2984  Whilst within the Southland coastal management area, a “zero discharge” policy applies to discharges to water covering both solid (food waste and packaging) and liquid wastes (sewage, grey water, bilge water and hazardous waste). Air discharges must be minimised, with a goal to reduce visible smoke emissions in the fiords. A suggested way of achieving this is to substitute cheaper heavy fuel oils for marine gas oil, 2985  but ultimately it is up to the vessels to determine how they will meet the requirement. The taking on or exchanging of ballast water whilst in internal waters is strictly prohibited. 2986

The Environment Southland Marine Fee was set up as part of the Agreement, where each ship entering the Fiords, was charged based on the vessel’s gross tonnage. The fee enables the council to offset any costs arising from risks to the environment posed by the industry and to alleviate financial pressure on the council’s coastal expenditure. Introduced in time for the 2001/2002 cruising season, the fee generated $260,000 from 23 visits and the 2012/13 season was estimated to generate $1.9 million. By the end of the 2011/2012 season it was estimated that the cumulative total of fees taken was $10 million. 2987  Part of the Marine Fee helps pay for a wide range of the council’s coastal-based functions, including its marine biosecurity programme, supporting shoreline clean-up and coastal water quality science reporting and monitoring, all of which are impacted by the vessels entering Doubtful Sound.






Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015