Third BMSB vessel directed to leave Australian territory



The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources advised the CBFCA about a third vessel directed to leave Australian territory due to BMSB detection.

Third vessel directed to leave Australian territory, MV Thalatta

  • On 4 January 2019, the vessel Thalatta and its cargo was directed to leave Australian territory due to unacceptable biosecurity risk posed by Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB). This is the third vessel directed to leave Australian territory this BMSB season.
  • On 16 December 2018, the Thalatta, a roll-on roll-off vessel, carrying cargo loaded from Germany, Belgium, Spain and South Africa arrived off Fremantle, Australia. The cargo compromised mainly vehicles and some machinery with around 50 percent of the cargo having been treated for BMSB prior to loading. The vessel had carried out a thermal fogging of the cargo holds in Spain.
  • Enroute the vessel was subject to heightened vessel surveillance for Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and reported detections of exotic insects (both live and dead), including BMSB.
  • The vessel was initially directed to remain at anchorage at a safe distance off Fremantle, Australia. While at anchorage it was directed for thermal py-fogging prior to a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources inspection, at which only a small number of insects were detected, including dead BMSB.
  • Subsequently, during a controlled discharge under departmental supervision at Fremantle port, one live BMSB and two other insects (not of biosecurity concern) were detected on the cargo.
  • Cargo discharge was ceased and the department directed that all unloaded cargo be reloaded onto the vessel.  There were 83 units that could not be reloaded. This cargo was secured on the wharf and directed for treatment. Following treatment, the cargo was inspected and dead BMSB were found.
  • The vessel was directed back to anchorage. Whilst at anchorage, the vessel reported findings of a large number of exotic insects, including BMSB.
  • The continued detections of exotic insects, including BMSB, indicates the likelihood of a larger residual population of exotic insects, including BMSB that remain undetected on board the vessel.
  • The department considered these findings, along with the risk management plan submitted by the vessel operator, and determined that the vessel and its cargo continues to present an unacceptable level of biosecurity risk.
  • The vessel operator has fully cooperated with the department.

An Industry Advice Notice (194-2018) published on 24 December 2018, reminds industry of the risk posed by BMSB and to ensure all target high risk goods manufactured in, or shipped from, target risk countries must be treated offshore. Vessel operators should manage contamination risks to ensure goods are not contaminated with BMSB and/or other biosecurity risks.

Loading and shipment of break bulk cargo treated by suspended offshore treatment providers

An Industry Advice Notice (195-2018) published on 24 December 2018, outlines the processes for goods that have been treated for BMSB risk by a suspended offshore treatment provider under the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme.

Due to the high level of biosecurity risk to manage break bulk treated by suspended treatment providers, the department has revised its onshore policy for this cargo. Vessel operators should not load untreated break bulk goods or break bulk goods treated by suspended treatment providers for discharge in Australia. More information about the management of goods shipped prior to the suspension of treatment providers is available in the industry advice notice.

The department continues to review any BMSB detections and the risk pathways to adjust import measures as needed. Industry is expected to comply with the BMSB seasonal measures and, where possible, only load compliant cargo and/or ensure cargo is not contaminated with BMSB and other biosecurity risks.

Compliance Division
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources