133-2020 - The management of vessels during the 2020-21 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug pest risk season with changes to the Vessel Seasonal Pest Scheme (VSPS)

28 August 2020

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to all vessel masters and shipping agents who represent international commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance.

What has changed?

In response to the rapid expansion of Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) throughout Europe and North America, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) has released the 2020-21 seasonal measures to manage the risk of seasonal pests, BMSB and other exotic seasonal pest risks from entering and establishing in Australia.

To manage roll on roll off vessel arrivals, the department has seasonal measures in place between 1 September 2020 and 31 May 2021 for the seasonal pest (SP) risk season.

In response to industry feedback last season and the results of the BMSB survey, the department has made a number of improvements to the BMSB and Vessel Seasonal Pest Scheme (VSPS) for the 2020-2021 season.

  • Revision of SP target risk countries based on scientific advice.
  • Changes in the SP questionnaire including the addition of the four new target risk countries: Kazakhstan, Moldova, Portugal and Ukraine.
  • Last season’s VSPS Risk Mitigation and Contingency Plan templates are now combined into one single VSPS Biosecurity Risk Plan, reducing duplication of effort.
  • New vessel insect detection reporting requirements.
    • VSPS participants are now asked to report insect interceptions 48 hours after departure from an international port and then seven days before arrival into Australia.
    • This is a significant change from last season’s reporting requirements which required reports of insect interceptions for the entire voyage.

The revised seasonal measures documents for vessels are published on the department’s website: BMSB webpage and enable the department to:

  • Facilitate better management of BMSB risk offshore, at berth and onshore
  • Better assess a vessel’s BMSB risk prior to arrival
  • Improve the effectiveness and timeliness of mitigation activities
  • Reward shipping lines that take steps to manage the risk of BMSB on board vessels.

What do you need to do?

  • On submission of a pre arrival report (PAR), all roll-on-roll-off (ro-ro) and general cargo vessels will receive a SP questionnaire.
    • All vessels that receive the questionnaire are required to complete the self-inspection and fully complete and report findings of any BMSB or other insect pests.
  • Shipping lines responsible for roll on-roll-off vessels arriving in Australia during BMSB season can apply for the VSPS.
    • The VSPS offer shipping lines a reduction in seasonal pest inspections where vessels demonstrate biosecurity risk measures are acceptably managed.
    • Review vessel BMSB and VSPS policy documents and submit your draft Vessel Biosecurity Risk Plan to seaports@awe.gov.au.
    • If you have any VSPS questions or issues you wish to raise then please email the seaports policy team at seaports@awe.gov.au.

Who to contact for PAR and seasonal pest reporting?

The department’s Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) will manage seasonal pest questionnaire reporting and assessment.

The MNCC is based in Adelaide, South Australia. Phone: 1300 004 605 (in Australia) or +61 8 8201 6185 (outside Australia), fax 1300 005 882 or email maritimencc@awe.gov.au

MNCC operating hours are Monday to Friday 07:00 - 19:00 (06:30 - 18:30 Adelaide time) AEST. Saturday to Sunday 09:00 - 17:00 (08:30 - 16:30 Adelaide time) AEST.

Emergency only on-call phone assistance after MNCC operating hours is available as listed on the Vessel Contacts page.

Further information

For further information regarding the 2020-21 BMSB seasonal measures for vessels, visit our BMSB webpage or contact the department seaports policy team seaports@awe.gov.au

Contact the department’s Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC) by email or phone 1300 004 605 (in Australia) or +61 8 8201 6185 (outside Australia).

Information and MARS supporting materials can be found on the department’s website under Vessels.

Last reviewed: 28 August 2020
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