Educating cruise ship passengers on biosecurity

28 January 2016

October through to May is the height of cruise ship season which brings thousands of passengers into New Zealand through our Ports. This increase in visitors also increases the risk of pests and diseases entering our borders through disembarking passengers.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has done a tremendous job with cruise ship management and staff to help them educate passengers of the risk they present before they disembark. This then lessens disruption during the biosecurity screening process as they leave the ship.

An example of measures to educate passengers and reduce biosecurity risk on a recently-arrived cruise ship into Auckland and Tauranga included:

  • All whole fruit removed from buffet the night before arrival and only fruit slices served
  • Ship-wide biosecurity announcements broadcasted every 30 minutes
  • Biosecurity messaging in ship’s newsletter and on TV screens
  • Ship-side amnesty bins and extra signage in place
  • 100% baggage inspection by shipping line staff prior to border inspections by MPI
  • Passengers advised of delays at the next port should seizures be found
  • A Quarantine Officer was available prior to disembarking to assist passengers with their questions

As a result of these measures, the more than 2600 passengers then screened by MPI had only one minor seizure amongst them.