The review also found that New Zealand has procedures in place to assess risk and adjust safety measures if required.
The review was launched by Maritime NZ last April in preparation for an anticipated increase in the number of ships visiting the country and a trend to ever bigger ships.
Maritime NZ director Keith Manch said consideration was also given to a Transport Accident Investigation Commission recommendation that Maritime NZ collects data on shipping movements and monitors and controls the use of virtual aids to navigation around the coast.
He said recent access to ship tracking data based on ships’ Automatic Identification System (AIS) enabled Maritime NZ to examine the routes taken by ships.
“Previous studies have indicated that ship volumes and other existing hazards around New Zealand do not meet the international criteria for imposing shipping lanes or mandatory routes and the review indicates that this is still the case,” he pointed out.
Work will now be done to improve management of aids to navigation, including virtual aids, which use electronic systems rather than physical marks or beacons to alert ships to navigation hazards through their AIS systems, Mr Manch said.
“This is a fast-moving area of technology and it’s proving challenging to manage internationally. We will look to develop a strategy to plan how to lead management of virtual aids to navigation around New Zealand.”
The review identified two areas of potentially higher risk relative to other locations – the Hauraki Gulf and Colville Channel, and Cook Strait – when passenger vessels and other hazards were considered in combination. He said: “This review does not indicate an immediate risk to vessels or water users in these areas, but we will be working with harbourmasters, pilots, ferry operators, and the coastal shipping industry to look at how risks are managed in these areas, and whether there are any gaps.”