Nearly a third of cruise ships entering NZ fail biosecurity rules

Nearly a third of all cruise ships attempting to enter New Zealand this season have been found to be non compliant with strict biosecurity rules.

The Ministry for Primary Industries told 1News that 11 vessels of the 35 entering New Zealand waters this seaon were found to have compliance issues.

Biofoul on ship's hull.

Paul Hallett, manager of environmental health for Biosecurity New Zealand said, "of the 11 cruise vessels identified with compliance issues, eight were subjected to restricted itineraries that allowed them to visit approved ports, but not areas with special marine environments.

"In addition, after engaging with Biosecurity New Zealand, one vessel decided to clean before arrival due to high-risk fouling and two were directed to leave New Zealand waters, but permitted to return once they had demonstrated evidence of a clean hull."

International cruises have ramped up this year too, with the post-Covid return coinciding with an uptick in enforcement since 2020.

Carnival Australia, one of the major cruise operators into New Zealand, said its focus is to work with MPI to address the matter.

A spokesperson said: "New Zealand has the strictest biosecurity arrangements in the world for ships' hull biofouling and the settings now in place are presenting challenges for ships that operate in the area.

"At Carnival Australia, we remain committed to protecting the communities we visit and complying with the standards required of us by New Zealand."

Hallett said the rules were in place for a reason.

"We know that nearly 90% of marine pests arrive in New Zealand on the submerged surfaces of international vessels. Such pests can adversely impact New Zealand’s environment, unique marine ecosystems, aquaculture industry and economy."


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