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News: US CBP (Port of New Orleans) Notice: AGM Arriving Vessel Protocols / AGM Free Certificate Inspections

15 October 2020

Members have been previously advised on the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) risk period (2020) that usually starts from late May to September. Please see here for the detailed guidance on port-of-entry processes at countries that are regulating and inspecting vessels for AGM.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Port of New Orleans has recently issued notice no. 21-004 to advise the maritime industry of the importance of foreign AGM free certification inspections.

The CBP New Orleans recommends that all vessels that called ports in AGM region during the high-risk flight season to arrive with a valid AGM free certificate. This may prevent CBP from discovering AGM infestation onboard vessels in port, thus reducing the requirement for an infested vessel to be ordered removed from port for cleaning in international waters.

Previously, the vessel master, agent, owner, operator or designee, was required to fax or e-mail a copy of the vessel’s 'Ports of Call' list to CBP prior to the arrival of a vessel from a foreign or coastwise port prior to arrival in the New Orleans Tri-Port. At this time, Ports of Call lists are no longer required to be submitted, unless CBP requests this information. The CBP will perform an AGM inspection on all targeted vessels regardless of the vessel’s foreign AGM free certification status.

AGM targeted vessels transiting directly to Baton Rouge will be restricted to one of the lower Mississippi River anchorages, as determined by CBP.  CBP will notify the vessel agent of all AGM related anchorage restrictions and will conduct the AGM inspection at the designated anchorage during daylight hours.    

The CBP encourages crew of these vessels to carry out an AGM inspection prior to arriving in the Port of New Orleans.

  • If a suspect AGM egg mass is discovered onboard a vessel before arrival at the Port of New Orleans, CBP Operations Desk should be notified at (504) 670-2270, crew should carefully scrape off the suspect AGM egg mass with a knife or paint scraper and place the suspect AGM egg mass into the vessel’s incinerator and incinerate the suspect AGM egg mass. If the vessel does not have a functional incinerator, have the crewmember place the suspect AGM egg mass into a Ziploc bag and place the specimen in a refrigerator.  Do not freeze.
  • If a suspect AGM egg mass is discovered while a vessel is in the Port of New Orleans, CBP Operations Desk should be notified at (504) 670-2270, crew should mark the area and do not remove the suspect AGM specimen.

In such cases, a CBP boarding team will be dispatched to the vessel to conduct an AGM inspection.  If the Agriculture Specialist determines that a specimen is suspect for AGM, normal AGM protocols will be followed. 

The notice highlights that if a suspect AGM infested vessel is diverted to a foreign port before entering the Port of New Orleans, the CBP Operations Desk must be notified and the vessel crew should place the suspect egg mass in alcohol and/or incinerate the specimen (never throw a suspect AGM specimen overboard).

For further details, members are recommended to refer to the notice in the attachment box.