The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an agricultural pest that feeds on, and can severely damage, fruit and vegetable crops. Between September 2018 and April 2019, import restrictions are in place and heightened surveillance activities are implemented to monitor vessels arriving in Australia and New Zealand carrying cargo from the United States, Japan and many European countries. As BMSB hibernate in and are carried via transported goods, shipments on board our vessels from stipulated countries must undergo mandatory treatment offshore prior to loading. 

Ensuring compliance with biosecurity regulation is the responsibility of the importer, whilst the presentation of clean cargo at the port of load is, at all times, the responsibility of the shipper.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean has from the outset worked closely with Authorities in Australia and New Zealand, and takes its responsibilities to ensure that invasive species are not transported to the countries extremely seriously. 

Bug findings cause delays
During this year’s BMSB season live bugs have been found on board many vessels in routine inspections prior to arrival in Australia / New Zealand waters. These findings have been reported to the authorities, who have stipulated cycles of treatment and inspection on board until such time as they are convinced no live bugs are present.  In the worst-case scenario, vessels have been refused entry, meaning that cargo on board must be offloaded in another port and retreated prior to any shipment back to its intended destination.

The resulting delays have a significant knock-on impact to subsequent ports and voyages, causing particular disruption to our Round-The-World service and voyages out of Asia. Please refer to our online schedules for the current status and changes to vessel schedules. 

Additional measure taken
This is an industry wide issue and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean is working closely with the respective authorities to ensure consistent regulations and application of such are in place to minimise the risks of contaminated cargo being loaded on our vessels. Furthermore, we are taking additional measures such as cargo inspection and fogging of vessels in the last load port to reduce the likelihood of live bugs being found prior to arrival in Australia or New Zealand.

With the escalation in the number of such cases, scrutiny from the authorities only increases. The only sure way to avoid such issues is for all cargo to be presented for shipment free of invasive species.

We apologise for these disruptions, but trust that you fully understand our shared responsibility in this matter, and that we must work together to safeguard New Zealand and Australia’s biosecurity.

For further information regarding this advice, please contact your WW Ocean office or account manager.