CBP, USDA have beef with cattle carrier
A Panamanian-flag cattle carrier was not allowed to load livestock in the Port of Wilmington, Del., last week and ordered to undergo decontamination.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Department of Agriculture officials put the ship, Zein I, into quarantine after finding manure and “unsecured” international garbage on the ship and required it to be disinfected. He said the ship was owned by Albert Compania Naviera.
The ship was cleaned with the disinfectant Virkon, a 400-foot quarantine zone was set up around the ship, and workers and equipment going to and from the vessel were disinfected.
While there was no indication of any contamination, he said the ship was disinfected “out of an abundance of caution” to prevent the possibility of introduction of pathogens such as the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease.
The ship, which was scheduled to carry 3,500 head of cattle to Molin, Turkey, was not allowed to load livestock and departed the port on Sunday.
The cattle were not stranded at the port, as they are not transported to the port until vessels are cleared for loading, port spokesperson and the ship’s agent said.
Sapp said the process proceeded smoothly, in part because the agencies in the region had participated in an exercise in October 2008, which was based on a scenario where it was imagined a terrorist was trying to introduce foot-and-mouth disease into U.S. livestock.