Cargo ship ordered to leave New Zealand after stink bugs discovered

A cargo ship has been ordered to leave New Zealand waters after the discovery of stink bugs and other unwanted pests on board.

The bug has the potential to devastate the country's fruit, vegetable and wine industries, and could put a multi-billion dollar hole in our economy should it establish itself here.

Biosecurity officers intercepted three live and 39 dead brown marmorated stink bugs and 69 other dead regulated stink bugs after the Carmen arrived in Auckland from Europe on Wednesday morning.

The vessel was carrying a range of vehicles from Europe and the United States.

"The interceptions indicated the cargo was likely to be infested with stink bugs, and we also believed the ship itself was contaminated," said Steve Gilbert, Border Clearance Services Director, Biosecurity NZ.

"We informed industry prior to the start of the season of our hard line on cargo vessels believed to be infested with stink bug."

The vessel has left Auckland and will now have to be treated offshore before it can return.

"If permitted to come back, the vessel should also expect intensive inspection before we allow any cargo to be discharged," Mr Gilbert says. 

The Carmen is the first cargo ship ordered to leave New Zealand since the beginning of the 2018/19 stink bug season in September.

In February, Biosecurity NZ turned around four bulk carriers arriving from Japan due to stink bug contamination.