Pintard: “We will find out.”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Officials in Grand Bahama were last night incinerating insect-infested wood and fumigating exposed areas after a cargo ship reportedly offloaded it without proper approval.
Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said an investigation has been launched into how the vessel was allowed to drop off the wood.
He addressed the matter as a guest on Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson.
“We have a massive team incinerating the wood at Sanitation, fumigating both at Bradford Marine and Sanitation and we are carefully trying to find out how is it possible that a vessel can come into The Bahamas, dock, drop off the items…I’m not God, so I’m not omniscient, so I don’t know and that’s why we do investigations… and to find out how they can drop off the wood, and leave because we intended to detain whoever had done it and we will find out from the shipping agency, the barge that transferred and everyone who had custody of the wood so we are addressing it.”
Pintard did not reveal any further details; however, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in a statement on Wednesday, said a vessel it removed was on its way to Freeport for disposal services.
The CBP said its agriculture specialists at the Port of New Orleans had ordered the removal of a vessel named the Pan Jasmine “due to invasive insects found in the wood used to secure their previous cargo”.
The vessel was found to be infected with five separate pests, according to the CBP, noting there were two destructive and invasive species – beetle and ant – that required action.
“Due to the large volume of (wood) and the presence of highly mobile pests, the vessel was ordered to immediately depart U.S. waters, load the (wood) into the cargo hold and clean the decks prior to returning to the U.S.,” the CBP statement read.
“The larvae of invasive wood-boring beetles can feed on a wide variety of trees in the U.S., eventually killing them,” the statement continued.
“The Myrmicinae queen ants are a concern because they are capable of producing a colony. The additional pests found have an established presence in the U.S. including Bostrichidae, a common wood-boring pest.”
It furthered the vessel departed on July 21 to Freeport.
According to the statement, New Orleans Area Port Director Terri Edwards said: “If the (wood) had been offloaded into the U.S., it would have been put in a Louisiana landfill where the insects could crawl out and invade the local habitat, causing incalculable damage.”