Ships trading in Far East ports are reminded that they would need their ships to be inspected and certified free of Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) before their departure from certain ports known to be posing high risk.
Failure to do so may cause potential action by phytosanitary authorities of countries where the pest is not indigenous.
Countries usually known to regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM are: the US, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
The AGM season usually starts from late May to September. A ship that has called at a port in the regulated area during this period is considered high risk and, in general, required to obtain AGM-free certificate at the last port of the regulated area.
US and Canada
According to Standard Club, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) jointly issued a bulletin in February 2021. It mentions that during the 2019 and 2020 AGM flight periods, very high numbers of moths were observed in many regulated ports.
To prevent a similar high number of vessels with egg masses arriving in 2021, extra vigilance in conducting self-inspection is requested.
The regulated areas and risk periods for 2021 are the following:
For ships that have called on areas regulated for AGM during the specified periods, the following measures are required:
- Vessels must be inspected and must obtain pre-departure certification from a recognized certification body. A copy of the certificate, stating that the vessel is free of AGM life stages, must be forwarded to their U.S or Canadian agents. The certificate must be issued from at least the last port of call in a regulated area that was visited during the specific risk period.
- Vessels must arrive in North American ports free from AGM. To avoid facing inspection delays, re-routing, being ordered out of port for cleaning and other potential impacts associated with mitigating the risk of entry of AGM to North America, shipping lines should perform intensive vessel self-inspections to look for, remove (scrape off) and properly dispose of or destroy all egg masses and other life stages of AGM prior to entering U.S. and Canadian ports.
- Vessels must provide two-year port of call data, at least 96 hours prior to arrival in a North American port, to the vessel’s Canadian or U.S. agent. The agent is to ensure that this information is provided to U.S. and Canadian officials.
In addition, CFIA explained that that their AGM policy does not exempt bunkering locations, except for bunkering at anchorage in a few regulated ports in Korea where AGM inspection services could not be obtained at certain times of the year.
As USDA requirements are aligned to CFIA’s, it is recommended that the ships calling the regulated areas for bunkering (at anchorage) shall endeavour to obtain AGM-free certificate prior to their departure
says Standard Club.
In March 2021, CFIA updated its policy with following revisions:
- Section 2.1 has been updated to clarify the requirement that AGM inspection reports which indicate the presence of AGM life stages, after AGM certification has been issued in an AGM regulated area, must be presented to the CFIA.
- Section 3.0 has been updated to outline conditions for exempting a vessel from inspection by the CFIA if the vessel presents the required phytosanitary certificate or other approved certificate for AGM and a negative inspection report from New Zealand.
- Section 4.3 has been added to clarify that failure of the Canadian agent to notify the CFIA of the arrival of a regulated vessel, prior to the vessel entering Canadian water is considered to be a non-compliance.
The heightened surveillance period for Australian ports is between January and May each year.
The regulated areas include ports in Russia only and Australia base their AGM policy on the following definition of regulated areas and specified risk periods:
Vessels classified as high risk of AGM are generally assessed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAFF) to determine the need for AGM inspection on arrival and will be notified if a targeted AGM inspection is required as part of their first port arrival formalities. Relevant vessels are sent an AGM questionnaire through the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS), as part of their pre-arrival reporting (PAR) process. Once the completed questionnaire is returned to the Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) and assessed, vessels are notified if a targeted AGM inspection is required as part of their first port arrival formalities.
DAFF will also cease its annual surveillance for managing the risks posed by the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) on vessels arrivals after 31 May 2021.
- After 31 May 2021 the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) will no longer send an AGM questionnaire to targeted vessels after submission of mandatory pre-arrival reporting.
- The Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) will continue to risk assess vessels to determine where AGM inspections are to be performed on vessels provided with a questionnaire up until 31 May. i.e. Assessment activities will be finalised after all targeted inspections within the surveillance season have been completed.
- Vessel masters should continue to remain vigilant for exotic insects and report detections to the department.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the competent authority dealing with AGM regulations, and requirements are set out in part-3 of the Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) – Vessels.
The requirements, that came into force on 1 February 2018, state that an arriving vessel is considered high risk for AGM if in the last 12 months it has visited any of the regulated areas during the specified risk periods. Such vessels should provide a valid certificate of freedom of AGM upon arrival in New Zealand.
It is essential to ensure that the certificate confirms that the vessel was inspected during daylight hours on the same date as the vessel’s departure; and a copy of the pre-departure certificate needs to be forwarded together with one year of port of call data to the MPI at least 48 hours prior to arrival
The Chilean requirements apply to ships that, in the past 24 months, visited ports located in North East and Far East Asia between 60°N and 20°N.
It means that ships calling at a port in Southern China during the flight season will also be required to produce a phytosanitary certificate
A copy of the phytosanitary certificate together with a list of the ports called in the last two years is required to be provided to the Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) officials at least 24 hours prior to ship’s arrival.
The Argentinian National Service for Health and Agrifood Quality (SENASA) issued Resolution 764/2020 which entered into force on 12 April 2021 and describes phytosanitary measures for ships that have sailed or remained in the AGM regulated areas during the last 24 months, from the date of arrival at Argentinian ports.
The regulated areas and risk periods are defined below:
In addition, all ocean-going vessels arriving at Argentinian ports shall notify SENASA at least 72 hours before arrival, whether or not the call(s) occurred during the AGM flight periods. All vessels will then be subject to a risk assessment by SENASA, which can result in an inspection, and if any presence of the pest is detected, require cleaning and phytosanitary treatment.
If the presence of the aforementioned plagues is observed, phytosanitary measures shall be established depending on the risk detected:
- Infringements to the regulation may result in fines amounting up to AR$ 10,000,000 (around US$ 133,333). SENASA could impose further precautionary measures to avoid a sanitary risk.