NZ turns away vessel after stink bug detections

February 14 , 2018

New Zealand’s Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has praised authorities for forcing a vessel to reload its cargo and depart the Port of Auckland after brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) were found in used vehicles as well as onboard the ship.  

A bulk car carried arrived on Feb. 6 with a cargo of vehicles and machinery from Japan.

It had visited the “high-risk ports” of Baltimore and Livorno in November, but had been fully cleaned prior to loading cargo from Japan, a release from KVH said.

During routine surveillance, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff found 50 dead BMSB and one live specimen, as well as one live yellow stink bug which also poses a risk to New Zealand.

“The vessel was directed to cease discharge, raise the ramp and seal the vessel. MPI at Auckland Port issued a direction to treat the vessel, and the cargo therein, with a knock down spray,” KVH said.

“Following the stand down period a further verification inspection was conducted and more dead BMSB and a total  of 19 live Yellow Stink Bug were found.”

At the same time, MPI staff were assessing the risk associated with the 900 or so cards that had already been discharged, and a hold was placed on the vehicles preventing their removal from the port. The next day, an MPI detector team detected additional pests in some of the cars.

“In all, MPI have turned around a vessel which wished to discharge around 2000 vehicles,”KVH said.

“The costs and impacts are significant for importers and shipping lines so although there were certain operational and technical challenges it is truly an example of taking the BMSB issue and biosecurity in general, very seriously.”

“The detector dog trained in BMSB detection performed very well and the fact MPI have now introduced a workforce that is trained in a range of pathways meant that there were enough personnel used to the port environment to manage the situation.”

Approximately 20 car carriers are due to arrive in New Zealand between Feb. 9 and the end of April, which is the end of the high-risk season for BMSB. A planned approach for the verification and inspection of the vessels and cargo has been developed and will be implemented by MPI.

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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