From October to April, cruise ships transit the fiords beginning or ending at Milford.
Cruise ships visit the Southland coast, mostly into the fiords and Paterson Inlet at Stewart Island during the cruise ship season from October to April.
Since the late 1990 Environment Southland has had a working relationship with Cruise New Zealand, the country's representative of the wider cruise industry. We also have other contacts worldwide to assist the Council in developing and maintaining the necessary relationships with cruise company owners.
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 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 have to sign into the Deed of Agreement. The signatories to the Deed are Environment Southland and individual international cruise companies.
The Deed of Agreement is a quasi-resource consent and places environmental obligations on the companies operating ships entering and transiting the Fiords. The requirements set out in the Deed are similar to the conditions of any resource consent. The Deed also assists in managing the potentially significant risks associated with large ship movements and transits through the enclosed waters of the Fiords. Significant response funds would be required should there be a ship incident within the isolated parts of the Fiords.
The Deed was updated and sign off by Council in April 2021.