Cargo ship ordered to leave New Zealand after pest discovery

Biosecurity New Zealand has directed a vehicle carrier to leave New Zealand waters following the discovery of stink bugs and other regulated pests.

Biosecurity officers intercepted 3 live and 39 dead brown marmorated stink bugs and 69 other dead regulated stink bugs after the Carmen arrived in Auckland from Europe on Wednesday morning.

The vessel was carrying a range of vehicles from Europe and the United States.

“The interceptions indicated the cargo was likely to be infested with stink bugs. We also believed the ship itself was contaminated,” says Steve Gilbert, border clearance services director, Biosecurity New Zealand.

“We informed industry prior to the start of the season of our hard line on cargo vessels believed to be infested with stink bug.

“This is about ensuring a dangerous pest does not get a chance to establish in New Zealand.”

The vessel left Auckland earlier this afternoon.

The vessel will now have to be treated offshore before it can return, says Mr Gilbert.

“If permitted to come back, the vessel should also expect intensive inspection before we allow any cargo to be discharged.”

The Carmen is the first cargo ship to be ordered to leave New Zealand since the beginning of the 2018/19 stink bug season in September.

In February, Biosecurity New Zealand turned around 4 bulk carriers arriving from Japan due to stink bug contamination.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

Biosecurity NZ to introduce new offences and penalties

Arriving vessels, transitional and containment facilities and cruise ship passengers will face new infringement offences for sloppy biosecurity practices that expose New Zealand to risk from harmful diseases and pests.

The new offences will introduce fines of $400 for individuals and $800 for other entities, such as companies, for low-level offending that is not significant enough to warrant prosecution, says Steve Gilbert, border clearance services director for Biosecurity New Zealand.

“The infringements will send a strong message about the importance of biosecurity and will deter people and organisations from breaking the rules.”

Under the changes, Biosecurity New Zealand’s quarantine officers will be able to infringe transitional and containment facilities that do not have an approved operator or don’t comply with operating standards.

International vessels will face fines for failing to notify Biosecurity New Zealand of their arrival and for failing to declare what steps they have taken to meet relevant craft risk management standards when asked to do so.

The new offences will come into force early next year.

Biosecurity New Zealand has also taken immediate steps to allow officers to fine cruise ship passengers leaving a vessel permanently if they fail to declare risk items.

Mr Gilbert says Biosecurity New Zealand intends to introduce a new declaration process that will allow it to bring in similar fines for passengers who only temporarily leave the ship.

Cruise passengers will be treated the same as travellers who fly to New Zealand, he says.  Passengers who don’t declare goods that could harm New Zealand should face a fine, whether they arrive by sea or air.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

Ministry reports busy summer for frontline biosecurity officers

New Zealand’s border biosecurity defenders have just been through their busiest summer on record, says the Ministry for Primary Industries .

Biosecurity officers screened some 2 million passenger arrivals for risk goods between December 2017 and February 2018, a 5% increase on last summer.

“It was a hectic few months, but we came into the season well prepared for the rush, including employing more than 70 new officers during the year,” says MPI border clearance director Steve Gilbert.

“Officers handed out nearly 4,000 infringements to passengers with undeclared goods that could harbour disease pests or diseases. Most of these were for undeclared fresh produce, which can carry destructive fruit fly species.

“We made 10 fruit fly interceptions during the summer. This proves the worth of our biosecurity defences, given the damage these insects can do to New Zealand horticulture.”

Ministry officers also made record seizures of brown marmorated stink bugs with more than 180 interceptions and more than 2,000 individual bugs detected.

The ministry has increased its scrutiny of cargo arriving from countries where the pest is established, with the number of consignments targeted for inspection increasing more than 100%.

“There has been a huge spike in stink bug detections on imported vehicles and machinery from Japan that has so far resulted in 4 carriers being turned away from New Zealand this season,” says Mr Gilbert.


December to February

  • 2 million air passenger arrivals – a 5% increase.
  • 4,930 undeclared seizures ­– a 5% increase.
  • 3,111 seizures of undeclared fresh produce.
  • 3,983 infringements issued – a 12% increase.
  • 10 fruit fly interceptions.
  • 1,821 cargo consignments targeted for brown marmorated stink bug inspection – a 103% increase.
  • 187 brown marmorated stink bug interceptions – an 80% increase.
  • 102 international yacht arrivals (26 detected with undeclared seizures).
  • 4 bulk carriers directed to leave New Zealand waters.


Stink bug alert: a fourth bulk carrier is ordered to leave New Zealand

The Ministry for Primary Industries has directed a fourth bulk carrier from Japan to leave New Zealand waters following the discovery of brown marmorated stink bug aboard the vessel.

The Glovis Caravel was ordered to leave New Zealand yesterday evening after the crew reported finding nearly 600 stink bugs, 12 of them alive, while the vessel was anchored near Auckland.

“Even though the vessel was sealed, we assessed the risk was too high for it to remain in New Zealand waters. It will now have to be treated off shore before it can return,” says Steve Gilbert, MPI Border Clearance Services Director.

The ministry has increased its border inspection and verification of bulk carriers arriving from Japan following a recent jump in detections of brown marmorated stink bug.

“Some of the carriers arriving New Zealand require no further action, but where there is contamination we have the option of denying entry,” said Mr Gilbert.

“We firmly believe our actions to date have prevented stink bugs from getting past the New Zealand border and welcome the support we have been getting from a range of industries.

Mr Gilbert said everyone appreciates a brown marmorated stink bug incursion could have a devastating impact on New Zealand agriculture.

Ministry to boost its biosecurity team for the summer rush

Thirty-two new quarantine officers will graduate from their training today, bolstering the Ministry for Primary Industries’ biosecurity defences at the border.

The ministry’s Border Clearance Services director, Steve Gilbert, says half the graduates will assist with biosecurity screening of travellers arriving at Auckland Airport over the summer.

“We’re expecting the busiest summer on record for visitor arrivals at international airports, especially in Auckland.

“The new officers will have a frontline role to protect New Zealand from invasive pests or diseases that could damage our economy or natural environment.”

The graduates include five officers who will work as biosecurity detector dog handlers and five more who will shortly undergo detector dog programme training.

So far this year, the ministry has employed 73 new officers from three intakes.

It now employs around 540 frontline staff, up from 500 last year.

It has also contracted personnel to help with Chinese-language translations and with cleaning shoes and sportswear.

“MPI is quickly becoming the biggest shoe-cleaning operation in New Zealand, and it’s all for biosecurity,” says Mr Gilbert.

He says MPI will be looking for 40 more officers in its latest recruitment drive, starting later this month.

In the year to July 2017, 6.48 million passengers arrived at New Zealand’s five international airports. Under conservative estimates, the ministry is projecting a 2.5 million increase in the number of passenger arrivals over the next five years.