February 10, 2010
Australia bars ship with beetle on board
Not all nuisance species are aquatic or transferred via ballast water. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) on Feb 5 refused the German registered cargo ship Tatiana Schulte permission to enter Australia.
AQIS took the action following reports by the vessel master of burnt pine longicorn beetle on the ship. The beetle is on the Australia's Most Unwanted list produced by AQIS.
The burnt pine longicorn beetle is an exotic timber pest that poses a serious threat to Australia’s timber industries and native forests.
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Deputy Secretary Rona Mellor said it was a clear example that Australia’s quarantine systems work to protect the country’s biosecurity.
"The burnt pine longicorn beetle is not known to occur in Australia and its establishment would cause significant economic losses for pine production," Ms Mellor said.
The pest causes damage to pine tree timber commonly used for construction, by tunnelling in the wood, which significantly reduces the quality.
"The risk to Australia’s forestry and timber industries was simply too great to allow this vessel to dock," Ms Mellor said. "AQIS has well established procedures for dealing with this type of risk.
"In 2004, AQIS turned away another cargo vessel arriving from New Zealand following a similar detection of this serious quarantine risk," she added.