Better Biosecurity for Cruise Ships

04 Nov 2016

Queen Mary 2 Wellington New Zealand 26th. Feb. 2011 Flickr PhillipC 5

One of the more tangible outcomes of the Government Industry Agreements for Biosecurity has been the Government’s focus on cruise ships. 

The problem is simple: the fruit and vegetables consumed on many of the cruise ships that visit New Zealand is loaded onto the ships in Australia, and that produce does not have to meet the same Import Health Standard that  fruit and vegetables exported to New Zealand from Australia do.

The risk lies in unwanted pests and diseases coming into our country when, for example, a passenger takes a piece of fruit off the ship on a day visit somewhere in NZ. Fruit fly is especially risky in this context.

The Ministry for Primary Industries, of course, runs the normal airport-style biosecurity screening processes and carry out inspections on the passengers as they leave the cruise liner; MPI run a tight ship.

But now, as a direct result of the industry partners to the GIA highlighting these risks, MPI have introduced a trial programme.

Under this new programme, MPI and the cruise ship industry will trial a new accreditation scheme to reduce the biosecurity risk posed by arriving cruise passengers. This involves:

- Collecting background information about vessel stores to determine biosecurity risk

and

- Getting assurances from cruise lines that vessels have strict systems for pest control, that they actively promote biosecurity messages, and that they don’t stock popular fruit fly host fruit like bananas and apples.

For those cruise liners that don’t take part in this programme, the traditional screening processes will still apply: bag inspections, x-ray scanning, and scrutiny by detector dogs.

Horticulture New Zealand encourages all cruise lines to take part in this excellent programme providing NZ better biosecurity protection.

This is a win for NZ, a win for industry and a win for Government, and commendations are well earned by MPI.

 

- Mike Chapman, CEO