Cargo of Kiwi Pests Turned Away

The Wallabies may have trouble turning away their All Black raiders but not so the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.

In a move made only once before, AQIS revoked approval for a vessel to berth in Sydney because of the dangers presented by a "significant amount " of insects that had travelled from Auckland.

AQIS' Claire McKee explained that after the master of the Tatiana Schulte rang to say that, while the ship was carrying containers and there was no infestation of any timber on the vessel, the damaging exotic timber pest - the Burnt Pine Longicorn beetle - was detected on the ship a day after departure.

It appears that the beetles may have joined the ship after it left Auckland but because of the presence of the pests AQIS made the decision to deny the vessel entry to Australian ports.

The beetles, per the AQIS website "could cause severe economic loss of wind thrown or fire damaged trees".

The ship, a Mersk vessel, has since sailed back to Auckland where New Zealand quarantine authorities have taken measures to see that the cargo presents no danger under Australian quarantine law.

"We made the decision because it was apparent the insects were of adult size and could easily have flown off and infested Australian trees and timber", said Ms McKee.

"We are grateful for the way Mersk has cooperated at their considerable cost and we have been working with the New Zealand authorities and are putting a process into action that will be adequate to deal with the cargo when it arrives back in Sydney", she said..

Michael Meagher: 0410 482367