When the bugs came knocking
During routine on-arrival surveillance on board the vessel [the first Japanese used car carrier to be turned away from the Port of Auckland], MPI quarantine officers found 50 dead brown marmorated stink bugs and one live specimen. In addition the quaranti
As the vessel had been discharging vehicles whilst the MPI surveillance was occurring the vessel was directed to cease discharge, raise the ramp and seal the vessel. The MPI team at Auckland Port issued a direction to treat the vessel, and the cargo therein, with a knock down spray. Following the stand down period a further verification inspection was conducted and more dead brown marmorated stink bugs and a total of 19 live yellow stink bugs were found.
The MPI team assessed the risk associated with the about 900 cars that had already been discharged to the port. An MPI hold was placed on these vehicles preventing their removal from the port. A combination of pestigas and agitation spray was applied to a 20% sample of the discharged vehicles. A small number of dead brown marmorated stink bugs were found. What happened on that fateful day in February in the Port of Auckland when stink bugs and used cars collided? During the afternoon of February 7 an MPI detector dog team was deployed to inspect the remaining vehicles on the port. The detector dog indicated on 26 vehicles, four of which were very strong indications. Those four vehicles were sent for heat treatment. A further 12 brown marmorated stink bugs were found in the heat treatment chamber following treatment.
Given the number of organisms found both on board the vessel, and in the discharged vehicles, MPI decided to mitigate the risk by reloading the vehicles onto the vessel and directing re-shipment of the entire cargo. The directions include the requirement to treat both the vessel and cargo offshore, prior to returning to New Zealand.
Due to problems reloading the vessel 25 pieces of heavy machinery remained on the port and were fumigated on the port.