North American authorities have told ship operators to step up their searches for Asian gypsy moths (AGM) or risk being kicked out of port. The warning comes after a number of vessels arrived in Vancouver last week with AGM infestations and the vessels were ordered to vacate the port.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have issued a joint notice asking shipowners and operators to strengthen the inspections for the insect.
The USDA and CFIA have encouraged ship operators to do more than normal self checking for the AGM as all the vessels with infestations had been inspected and certified in Asian ports, yet moths and larvae were still present.
Any vessel that is forced to vacate the port usually takes at least two to five days at sea to clean up the moth.
AGM is mainly found in Asia and there are high density populations in ports in East Russia, Northeast China, Korea, and Japan.
“Vessels calling at certain ports in the Asia Pacific between May and September should be inspected and certified free of Asian Gypsy Moth prior to departure, this to minimise the potential for regulatory action when arriving in a country where this destructive forest pest is not native,” insurer Gard said in a recent notice.