American Shipper

Insurer cautions ship owners about moth infestation

Insurer cautions ship owners about moth infestation

U.S. and Canadian authorities are intercepting infested vessels in efforts to prevent infestation of the countries' forests and damage to agriculture as the Asian gypsy moth 'season' gets underway, said the mutual insurance company the American Club.

   Earlier this month U.S. Customs and Border Protection said a ship bound from Japan to Stockton, Calif., was ordered out of U.S. territorial waters because agriculture specialists discovered Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on it.

   The latest issue of Currents, the American Club's magazine, said U.S. and Canadian government experts report that live AGM egg masses were found on an unprecedented number of commercial vessels calling at U.S. West Coast ports in 2008. This number had not been seen since the early 1990s.

   “In all of these incidents last year, delays in cargo loading and in routine clearance were significant, thereby resulting in loss of revenue and missed cargo charters, while in 10 cases consideration was given to order the vessels into international waters,” the American Club said. It added that the periods of risk for the moths' flight and infestation range from June 1-August 15 in southern Japan to July 15-October 1 in northern Japan and far east Russia. China and Korea have similar flight periods of risk.

   The club noted that all sorts of ships — bulk cargo, grain and container vessels, as well as fishing vessels and cruise ships — can carry the moths or their eggs.

   More information can be found here.