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SouthPort Logo

SouthPort Logo
© South Port 2022. Website by Naked Creative

South Port Logo

South Port Logo
Facilities & Services
Marine Services
Banner Marine Services

South Port provides pilotage, towage, berthage and full marine services to international and coastal vessels including the southern fishing fleet.

The Island Harbour is only accessible via South Port’s dedicated causeway which is manned 24hrs by security personnel; this provides vessels in port with a high standard of security. South Port also complies with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) requirements under the Maritime Security Act.

The port offers a deep water channel entry and berthage; please take into consideration the following limitations:

Maximum Draught and Vessel Sizes

Maximum draught is 9.7m at ordinary high water and up to 10.0m at high water spring tides. Low water maximum draught varies from 7.0m up to 8.0m at neap tides. Maximum vessel length is 225m and 34m beam. Vessels of greater length may be permitted entry by arrangement; this is subject to the type of vessel.

Approaches and Entrance Channel

Approaches and channel boundaries to the port are well delineated by leading lines, buoys and beacons all with appropriate day marks and lighting. The approaches are in two channels, a south channel with a minimum depth 12.5m at mean low water spring tides and a north channel with a minimum depth of 7.2m at mean low water spring tides. The entrance channel has a length of 800m and maximum width of 107m.


The Port of Bluff is a tidal port and major shipping movements occur at slack water. Tidal flow in the entrance channel varies from 2.0 to 2.6m/sec (4-5 knots) with ordinary tides and peaks at 3.6m/sec (7 knots) on high spring tides. Click the below link to view South Port’s complimentary tide timetable for 2021 and 2022.

South Port Tide Timetable 2021

Port & Harbour Marine Safety Code

South Port supports the New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code, this code provides national best practice guidance to port operators to manage the safety of marine activities in their ports and harbours.

Port & Harbour Marine Safety Code

Shipping Movements

Check the following tables to find out what ships are currently in port and due to arrive in the coming days.

The MNZ Landing page provides information for visiting ships before they arrive in New Zealand

Current local time: 28/10/2020, 16:10:48

Ships Currently in Port

eta time name of ship berth cargo/l/d agent eth time eth last/next port
Ocean Pioneer 3A Disch - Fish Talleys 25 NOV 21:00

Ships scheduled for arrival

eta time name of ship berth cargo/l/d agent eth time eth last/next port
25 Nov 11:30 Coreship Ol 5 Load- Logs Nautilus 27 NOV 12:30 At Anchor Do Not Disembark
Last modifed at 1:32pm 25 Nov
  1. Information is updated regularly, but may not reflect the latest changes.
  2. South Port endeavors to ensure that all information is accurate, but can take no responsibility for any error the database may contain.
  3. Where vessels are competing for a berth it should be noted that the vessels will be berthed on a first come first served basis.

Pilotage & Procedures

To ensure the safety of vessels and personnel, South Port has a number of guidelines for entry and exit of the port, which vary according to the vessel length, weight, and draught.


Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels over 500 gross registered tonnes.
Pilotage Areas and Limits (as at 16 October 2020)


Pilots will board inward vessels 1.5-2 nautical miles south of Bluff Entrance Light, 30 minutes before High Water (HW) Slack, and 45 minutes before Low Water (LW) Slack. Outward vessels depart up to one hour before High Water Slack and on, or immediately after, Low Water Slack.

Vessels will be handled on the first available tide, weather permitting, day or night. Vessels over 200m in length overall will be restricted by wind and tidal conditions. Please contact the Marine Administrator for further information.

Application for the services of a pilot, linesman, or tugs must be made at least three hours before the time required during normal working hours, i.e. 0800 to 1700 Monday to Friday. Vessels requiring services after 1700 hours and before 0800 hours should make an application before 1530 hours on the last working day prior to the weekend or holiday.

Vessels shall inform “Bluff Harbour Radio” at least 4 hours before arrival confirming ETA. Non-confirmation could result in a cancellation fee if the vessel arrives late.

Application & Notification

Arriving vessels, or their agent, should advise the Port Company 48 hours prior to the arrival of ETA, arrival draught, and any dangerous cargo on board, whether for discharge at this port or not. Vessels arriving at a weekend or public holiday should ensure that the arrival information reaches the Port Company before 1530 hours on the last working day prior to the weekend or holiday.

Pilots are available for the Stewart Island pilotage district.

There is also a cruise ship piloting service for Fiordland provided by South Port. Please contact the Marine Administrator for further details.

Vessels up to 100m: Arrival and departure can be made at any stage of the tide, dependent upon draught, weather, and ship-handling capabilities.

Vessels 100m to 180m and a draught of up to 8.5m: Pilot time up to one hour before and after slack water in Bluff main channel.

Guidelines for Shipping Movements

Vessels 180m to 200m: Pilot times for entry and exit are as follows:

Maximum draught for low and high tides is as follows:

Vessels over 200m: Large vessels will be evaluated by the Duty Pilot at the time. Pilot times and draught restrictions are the same as for 180m-200m vessels.

Shifting within the port: The majority of vessels can be moved at any stage of the tide, dependent upon weather conditions. Maximum draught at LW is 8.0m; during the LW-HW and HW-LW periods, the maximum draught is adjusted accordingly to the height of the tide.

Tankers: Tankers will be restricted to slack water shifts only to/from Tiwai Wharf and berth number 12.

Weather conditions: South Port pilots have stipulated guidelines for maximum wind strengths for various types of vessels, both day and night.

The passage plans and waypoints in and out for all berths can be downloaded as zip files below.

Environment Southland Harbour Master’s Directions

Passage Plans

Berth No 3A IN

Berth No 3A OUT

Berth No 4 IN

Berth No 4 OUT

Berth No 5 IN

Berth No 5 OUT

Berth No 8 IN

Berth No 8 OUT

Berth No 11 IN

Berth No 11 OUT

Berth Tiwai IN

Berth Tiwai OUT

Shift from Berth No 11 to Tiwai

Shift from Tiwai to Berth No 8

Shift from Tiwai to Berth No 11

Marine Plant & Equipment

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Pilot vessel








Identifying Features

Aluminium vessel with orange wheelhouse. “Pilot” on side of wheelhouse

Main Engines

2x MTU Detroit Diesel 60 series. 600 hp each

Cruising Speed

22 knots - Max 25 knots

<Heading goes here>

Shaft and propeller driven

Operational limits

Foveaux Strait


Up to 16 crew and passengers


Raymarine electronics; Quantum Doppler radar, 3D sounder, Class B AIS 2x fixed VHF units Callsign ‘Bluff Pilot’ on VHF Ch 16 /14 Infrared camera

Fuel tank capacity

3000 litres Diesel fuel


1000 fresh water

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Two Voith tractor tugs are available for harbour towage and salvage operations. For normal towage, the tugs use their own tow lines.

Te Matua

Length overall






Gross Tonnage

320 tonnes

Bollard Pull

40 tonnes


12 knots


2 x Caterpillar 3606 1440kW each 2 x Voith-Schneider directional propellers

Tank capacity

140,000lts - 830hrs


Length overall







471 tonnes (581 Towing)

Fuel capacity

144,750 litres

Fuel capacity range

630 hours 5,660 miles free running or 3,620 towing

Bollard Pull

35 tonnes - Speed 12 knots

Main engines

2 x Mirrlees Blackstone E8MKII, 1320 kW each propulsion units. 2 Voith directional propellers

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Work-Boat/Small Tug


Length overall




Bollard Pull

4 tonnes


10 knots

Main engine

8 cyl Detroit Diesel 172kW


VHF radio telephone multi channel

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Syncrolift Dry Dock

South Port has a Syncrolift situated on the Island Harbour.

The main dimensions of its lifting platform are:







Displacement Capacity

1050 tonnes

Dry dock sheds are available for repairs, blasting and painting.

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Pilot Ladders

Pilots embark on pilot ladders in accordance with the New Zealand Pilot Ladder Regulations. (Accomodation ladders will not be used).

The foot of the ladder should be no lower than 2 metres from the water. A boat rope is not required. The ladder is to be rigged on the side of the vessel as advised by the pilot prior to boarding, and the vessel must be making its way through the water at a maximum of 8 knots, not stopped or at anchor.

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Radio Watch

The VHF radio call sign is “Bluff Harbour Radio” calling Channel 16. There is a continuous listening watch on Channels 14 and 16.

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Rail and road access is provided.

Rail Access

Island Harbour Berth 4 has rail access. There is no rail at Tiwai Wharf or Town Wharf.

Road Access

Road access is available to all berths except where danger exists (e.g. petroleum discharge, dangerous cargoes etc.)

Access to all berths is for authorised personnel only and 24-hour security is maintained from the watch house.

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Tanker Berths

Petrol and fuel oil tankers discharge at Berth 11 and bitumen at Berth 12, both located on the Town Wharf. Midship connections only are used.

Heavy fuel oil for New Zealand Aluminium Smelter’s discharge point is on Tiwai Wharf using midship connection.

Tallow and other bulk liquids discharge at Berth 3A via Island Harbour installation.

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Road bunkering is available at the Island Harbour berths only. Vessels wishing to bunker or transfer oil must obtain permission from South Port before commencing the operation.

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Fresh Water

Fresh water is available on all berths. Hoses are available from South Port.

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Quarantine Waste

Waste containers are supplied for galley waste only. This is collected daily, weighed and charged to the vessel. Please contact the local agent regarding the per kilo charge. Disposal of other waste, e.g. bottles, cans or engine room waste is the vessel’s responsibility.

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Vessels are to use their own moorings throughout the port, all wharves being free of surge. Shore moorings are available at Berth 8 for large freeboard vessels (wood chip vessels).

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Survey and Repairs

Repairs and survey work on main engines is permitted after approval from South Port. Shore engineering services are available. Representatives to the major classification societies are also available for survey examinations.

Bluff Tide & Wind Readings

tide readings (in meters)

Last reading:131° at 13:04:00 on 25/11/2020

wind speed readings (in knots)

Last reading:131° at 13:04:00 on 25/11/2020

wind direction (in degrees)

Last reading:131° at 13:04:00 on 25/11/2020

Please refer to the compass image below to convert degress into North/South/East/West etc.


Last reading:
No 3G
15 knots

 Sea Temperature: 2.066 m

 Tide Level: 2.066 m

Last reading:131° at 13:04:00 on 25/11/2020
12.94 knpots
12.94 knpots
12.94 knpots
12.94 knpots
Berth 4
Last reading:131° at 13:04:00 on 25/11/2020
12.94 knpots
15 knots


The syncrolift is being re-introduced to operational status during Alert Level 3 of the COVID 19 pandemic. In order to achieve this, we need a unified effort from syncrolift users and operators. This means there are changes to the work environment.

Only one vessel per operational area will be permitted, these are:

The schedule of vessels provisionally booked for the syncrolift is not currently available. To enable effective communication booking information is to be requested through the dedicated email:
If you have not received an email confirmation of your booking it is not confirmed

Vessels will only be allowed access on completion of the following two forms by the vessel and all contractors engaged in work on the vessel:

COVID-19 Visitor Health Declaration Form

COVID-19 Visitor Health Declaration Form PCBU

Each vessel will be responsible for:

Guidance for working at the Syncrolift

Avoiding Close Working

Key cleaning tips

Consider your work environment and what is frequently used and touched by workers, customers and others. The virus can be spread from person to person or by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. To stop the spread, focus efforts on cleaning areas where the virus is more likely to spread, such as the kitchen and toilet.

Physical distancing should also be practiced when cleaning offices and jobsites. Refer to the Physical Distancing and Hygiene Protocol.

Cleaning Tools and Equipment

Clean tools and equipment before and after each day’s work with a disinfectant, concentrating on points of contact such as handles. Wash your hands after handling tools and equipment to prevent the spread of germs. If possible, don’t share tools on-site. If sharing cannot be prevented, take precautions and follow the hand washing guide before and after each use.

Disinfecting cleaning aids

Cleaning aids, such as cloths or mops, must be germ-free or they’ll spread germs to other surfaces. Here are some general cleaning tips to help prevent the spread of germs:

Washing-up brushes

Cleaning PPE

Hot work

If you need to carry out hot work (welding or flame-cutting) on board a ship in the Bluff port or commercial areas you must submit a hot work notification prior to commencing.

Complete a hot work notification online

In addition to your hot work permit application form, as a minimum the following checks must be completed:

fuel transfer

Notification is required to carry out fuel transfer or removal from vessels.

Complete a fuel transfer notification online