Amended – seasonal measures for vessels (BMSB)

This notice replaces Industry Advice Notice 16-2019.

What has changed?

In response to a growing number of detections of BMSB on vessels the department is adjusting the seasonal measures applied to vessels for the 2018-19 BMSB risk season.

Upon submission of a pre arrival report (PAR), all roll-on-roll-off (ro-ro) and general cargo vessels will receive a BMSB questionnaire. All vessels that receive the questionnaire are now required to fully complete and report findings of any BMSB or other insects.

All ro-ro vessels that have berthed at, or carried cargo loaded in Japan, Italy, USA, Germany, France, Georgia, Hungary, Russia, Greece or Romania will undergo a Seasonal Pest (SP) inspection on arrival.

Where a vessel has undergone a seasonal pest inspection and no further risks or concerns have been detected, the vessel will not be further inspected in other ports and will be permitted to discharge their cargo in subsequent ports.

The following ro-ro vessels will be exempt from SP inspection if they have no BMSB detections:

  1. Vessels only carrying cargo that has been treated by an Australian approved BMSB method (Methyl Bromide, Sulfuryl fluoride, or Heat)
  2. Vessels only carrying cargo that is compliant with New, Unused and Not Field Tested (NUFT) BMSB requirements
  3. Vessels only carrying cargo that is a combination of a) and b) outlined above.

This measure will commence from 11 February 2019.

Managing berth arrival and cargo discharge

Industry members should note this revised policy is expected to result in delays at the border due to restrictions on the discharge of goods until SP inspections are performed and vessels are cleared.

The greatest impact is expected to be in ports in Brisbane and Fremantle. This is due to the high volume of ro-ro vessels that visit these ports.

Vessel Masters/agents will be required to liaise with local biosecurity offices to arrange suitable inspection times and locations. Vessel Masters/agents are encouraged to liaise with the department early to agree mutually suitable arrangements and to minimise disruptions to vessel berthing.

Vessel Masters/agents are reminded that, due to safety considerations, Biosecurity Officers will only board a vessel at sea where there is an explicit biosecurity imperative and biosecurity risks cannot be adequately assessed or controlled alongside.

The department has sought to address the additional workload to assist with the expected demand. However, given the number of variables in estimating workload, the department strongly recommends that industry adopt measures where possible, to manage the potential increase in onshore delays.

The department is encouraging vessel operators to:

  • Implement measures to ensure loaded goods are not contaminated with BMSB and/or other biosecurity risks.
  • Only load break bulk goods treated in an approved BMSB manner (heat treatment, sulfuryl fluoride fumigation and methyl bromide fumigation).
  • If untreated goods must be loaded, ensure treated and untreated goods are segregated to reduce the risk of cross contamination on board the vessel.

Managing contaminated goods and vessels

The management of contaminated goods may require action by vessel operators, stevedores and wharf operators.

Where contaminated goods have been identified, vessel operators will be directed to not permit the discharge/unloading of those goods.

If goods contaminated with BMSB or other exotic pests are detected after discharge, the goods will be directed for immediate containment at the wharf, this may include reloading of the goods onto the vessel.

When loading and unloading break bulk goods, care should be taken as BMSB may be overwintering inside the goods. If BMSB are detected, operators and staff must secure the goods to limit any movement of insects and notify the department immediately.

Vessel Operators should be aware they may also be asked to produce manifests that includes the treatment status of the goods on board to manage any potential biosecurity risks.

For further information regarding the policy for BMSB measures, visit the Seasonal Measures for BMSB webpage or contact Air and Sea Cargo.