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Stowaway spiders discovered on ship

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Just as the island continues to address the battle over several invasive species, the Port Authority of Guam Thursday night encountered some of its own as critters were found aboard cargo.

You've heard of snakes on a plane, how about spiders on a ship?

"Around 8:30 last night, our stevedores were onboard the Green Ridge unlashing the cargo on the first deck and they discovered spiders and spider-webs," said Port GM Joanne Brown. And according to her, following the discovery of the spiders, port stevedores immediately contacted customs and quarantine to determine the next steps in dealing with the invasive species. "At that time the determination was made to move the vessel out to anchor of course we've not been able to address any unloading of that cargo until determination is made on how they're going to address or treat the spiders on board 0706 whether or not, what action they'll take because we cannot allow them to bring the vessel back into the wharf until that is addressed," she said.

The green ridge was coming from Port Hueneme California and was carrying over 600 cars along with heavy equipment and military vessels on board. Brown says none of that is coming off the vessel until the authorities take the necessary action which could include eradication on board. And with more and more invasive species becoming more prevalent on Guam, this is definitely a concern.

"I mean the port is definitely a port of entry and we need to ensure that we have the proper level of quality inspection to minimize this as much as possible at the end of the day, it can certainly be a threat to our community and our economy as we've seen with other invasive species," she said.

Brown met with Senator Chris Duenas this morning to address the matter. It was less than a month ago when Duenas held a roundtable on a new invasive species fee regulation. The fee proposal would be an additional $44 per container coming into the port to fund the Bio-Security Division who are tasked with implementing all the mitigation and eradication of invasive species. "It was discussed there is going to be an increase of protocols in terms of the front line on unloading cargo here at the port that's all part of the plan that's designed under the recently enacted law that calls for a bio-security plan for the island and other opportunities for the port to receive training and things thing like," he said.

He adds this situation is an opportunity to highlight border protection. As for what's next, Brown says until Customs and Quarantine, the Department of Agriculture and the vessel agent assess the spiders, the vessel will remain out to anchor. 
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