AQIS too tough on termites?
In Trade-a-Boat issue 424 we learned that Cruising Around columnist Andrew Aussie Bray underwent a pratique inspection for timber pests while docked at the Australian Customs berth in Brisbane, having visited Noumea, New Caledonia.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officer said that Aussie’s aluminium yacht fitted with insect screens posed a “medium risk” of harbouring termites due to the internal timber fitout. Apparently, New Caledonia is high on their termite risk list.
Photos were taken of the deck, writes Aussie, but he wasn’t required to have the yacht fumigated as it had been outside of the country for less than 90 days.
AQIS conducts a Documentation Assessment to determine whether a craft falls in a low-risk or high-risk category, in which treatment certificates, photographs and travel logs, among other things are taken into account.
If AQIS believes that a vessel is at high risk, the search for pests, fumigation and ship sanitation certification can blow out to thousands of dollars for craft under 25m entering Australian waters.
An AQIS spokesperson was unsure as to why the term “medium risk” was used in reference to Aussie’s vessel.
AQIS maintains boats entering Australian waters containing internal timbers are at risk of having termites.
“Itinerant and returning Australian vessels pose… risks following their cumulative stay in high-risk countries due to termites swarming (a late flight event) and potentially landing on and establishing and spreading in a vessel – a risk pathway for termite infestation.
“AQIS has implemented inspection and detection methods nationally to mitigate the risk of termite infestations and the introduction of other timber pests and diseases.”
In his column, Aussie writes:
“The only positive case I’ve heard of involved foreign termites found in a timber mast, which turned out to have spread from a colony already established onshore”
Are AQIS’s efforts an overreaction? Or do you believe AQIS’s actions keep our marinas clean.