Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Freight Forwarders and Shipping Lines Warned of Their Responsibilities to Prevent Alien Infestations

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is Waiting to Get In!
Shipping News Feature
AUSTRALIA – EUROPE – As anyone involved in shipping knows, nobody takes the risk of infection by alien organisms more seriously than the Australians, and with good reason. Having been hit with almost ineradicable infestations historically in the past, the country verges on paranoia with regard to pests entering the island from abroad. An incident this month demonstrates the vigilance and attitude of the authorities with the issue of a warning notice to freight forwarders, importers and customs brokers regarding the elaborately named Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).

This opportunist little creature emanated originally from the far east and, in 1998, found its way via imported goods, into the US since which it has spread with damaging effect to crops ranging from soya beans to soft fruits. Recently the bug has been discovered in parts of Europe and has a knack for hibernating in the framework of houses, thousands of the bugs resting hidden during colder months.

Now a RoRo car carrying vessel, the Morning Composer arriving from Belgium carrying vehicles produced there and in Germany, which arrived in Australian waters November 26 has been found to be hosting a colony of the creatures, and five other exotic species, whilst detained at anchor for inspection. The ship’s operators, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO) have been working subsequently with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) to establish a treatment and inspection protocol.

The infestation meant that no cargo was discharged from the ship which remained at anchor well offshore. The freight aboard will be directed to another country for importation and prospective importers and ship owners are asked to be fully conversant with the DAWR regulations as regards such pests.

It is noted that in the latest notice this week from the DAWR it has now ‘suspended’ the Italian headquartered pest control group Nuova Cianidrica from certifying that potential infestations have been dealt with, removing the company from the list of approved fumigators.