A ship ordered out of the Port of Tauranga on the weekend will have to have its hull cleared of marine growth before it can re-enter New Zealand waters.
The Ministry of Primary Industries ordered the DL Marigold to leave New Zealand within 24 hours on Sunday, following the discovery by MPI divers of a dense fouling of barnacles and tube worms on the bulk carrier's hull and other underwater surfaces.
"The longer the vessel stayed in New Zealand, the greater chance there was for unwanted marine species to spawn or break away from the ship. So we had to act quickly," says MPI's Border Clearance Director, Steve Gilbert,
The DL Marigold arrived in Tauranga from Indonesia on March 4, and was originally expected to remain in New Zealand waters for nine days.
MPI understands the vessel will be cleaned in Fiji, before returning to New Zealand to finish discharging a shipment of palm kernel expeller.
"The vessel won't be allowed back until it can provide proof it has been thoroughly cleaned," says Steve.
It is the first time MPI has ordered an international vessel to leave a New Zealand port for biofouling reasons.
"We were dealing with severe contamination in this case."
New rules will require all international vessels to arrive in New Zealand with a clean hull from May 2018.
During the interim period, MPI can take action in cases of severe biofouling.