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New Zealand pest threat averted

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New Zealand’s burnt pine longicorn beetle is one of the most invasive and potentially destructive pests to Australia if they arrive in a ship’s cargo. For its timely action in averting the threat presented by beetles aboard the Tatiana Schulte, Maersk Line Australia received the Regional Award for Services to Biosecurity from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service on 16 November. The Tatiana Schulte arrived in Australian waters on 5 February 2010, where the ship’s captain discovered and photographed the beetles in the cargo before notifying Maersk’s port agent Inchcape, who passed the information to AQIS. AQIS identified the beetle, which will fly from ships towards lights on shore, and denied the Tatiana Schulte entry. Maersk coordinated a return to New Zealand to carry out AQIS requirements before the ship returned to Australia to clear quarantine and unload its cargo only 10 days later than scheduled. ‘The incident, although costly and unfortunate, was managed very well," Maersk’s operations manager Andrew Cumming said, "but the real hero is the ship’s master who recognised the potential risk posed by the insects and brought it to the attention of the authorities." Maersk is now in the running for the national award which will be presented by the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Fishers at Parliament House in Canberra on 22 November.

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