A ship carrying uncertified animal feed that was refused entry to New Zealand because of a biosecurity risk actually docked and unloaded thousands of tonnes of similar product.
Newshub can reveal the MV Molat was allowed entry into the Port of Tauranga and unloaded palm kernel before going back out to sea where it has been waiting for seven weeks.
Today the Ministry for Primary Industries ruled it must keep off New Zealand shores.
But the fact it came into port has been kept from the public.
The ship had five holds carrying palm kernel - one of the holds was certified - carrying 4,000 tonnes that were unloaded.
The other four holds - uncertified – carrying a total of 23,000 tonnes was sent back to sea.
Despite being a biosecurity risk, the Ministry of Primary Industries is defending the move, with Steve Gilbert, the MPI clearances director saying: "We're very clear about who supplied which hold and the holds one to four have remained sealed and we have not allowed any discharge whatsoever from those holds".
October 18 - Ministry for Primary Industry rules "permission denied" saying there was too much risk.
The importer must now decide whether to go to another port - or dump the product at sea.
The Ministry of Primary Industries is now looking at whether to take legal action to recover its costs.
And the Minister responsible Nathan Guy, is also considering whether a fine system should be imposed as a future deterrent.