Banned vessel allowed to return after cleaning

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A biofouled vessel ordered to leave Tauranga earlier this month has been allowed to return after being cleaned outside New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.

MPI ordered the DL Marigold to leave Tauranga on 6 March following the discovery of dense fouling of barnacles and tube worms on the bulk carrier’s hull and other underwater surfaces.

The vessel returned to Tauranga yesterday evening to finish unloading a shipment of palm kernel after using divers to undertake cleaning at sea outside New Zealand waters.

"We checked photos taken after the cleaning operation. These were provided to MPI prior to the vessel’s arrival. We are now satisfied the ship is very clean and meets New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements," says Sharon Tohovaka, MPI’s Border Clearance Services Capability Manager.

"The move to ban the vessel until it could be cleaned shows New Zealand’s strict biosecurity system in action.

"MPI won’t hesitate to take a hard line on vessels with severe biofouling in the lead-up to the introduction of new biosecurity rules in May 2018.

"The new rules will require all international vessels to arrive in New Zealand with a clean hull. Most vessels can achieve this by following International Maritime Organisation biofouling guidelines."

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