Biosecurity New Zealand and Cruise Association address biosecurity concerns over ship cleaning

   January 9, 2023 ,   Accidents

Biosecurity New Zealand and Cruise Association said they were working together to reduce the number of cruise ships sent for last-minute cleaning.

Over the past month, 4 cruise vessels had been denied entry/given only restricted access to New Zealand ports due to algal build-up/invasive species attached to the hulls.

A joint meeting was held between Biosecurity NZ and NZ Cruise Association in order to address the growing number of ships needing extra cleaning when they were on their way to the country.

According to association chief executive, Kevin O'Sullivan, an increase in biosecurity inspections might be contributing to the issue.

"Nothing in particular has changed, with the exception that there was probably more inspections being carried out this season because of the gap since ships were here last."

During the COVID crisis, many ships were docked for months/years, giving algae and other organisms the opportunity to grow.

Now, a shortage of international cleaning facilities means some were missing out on regular cleaning while tourism operators were getting annoyed by cancellations as ships took detours, missed stops, or postponed voyages to be cleaned.

According to O'Sullivan, the association had sympathy for them, but they were not the only ones hurting. The issue had to be taken care of. Meeting with Biosecurity NZ had been a good start.

O'Sullivan believed that last-minute cleanings might be prevented if cruise lines were encouraged to commence inspections well before the season begins.

Port of Auckland (New Zealand)

Image: Port of Auckland (New Zealand)

In a statement, Biosecurity NZ said it remained "fully committed to balancing the need for cruise visitors to be in New Zealand, with protecting our special marine environment and economy. To this end, Biosecurity New Zealand will continue to work very closely and actively with vessel operators".