Black Widow Spiders Found Aboard MV Manukai

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Guam – For the second time in the past 5 months, a ship contaminated with spiders has arrived at Guam’s Port.

They are black-widow spiders and they were found aboard the Matson MV Manukai which arrived on Guam Tuesday evening from Honolulu.

Port spokeswoman Bernadette Meno however clarified that Honolulu was the vessel’s last stop, but the cargo in which the spiders were found originated from the U.S. west coast. She did not know where the cargo was loaded.

A statement from Port General Manager Rick Agustin says the spiders were found at “3:15 a.m. this morning [Wednesday]  by stevedores working on the Matson MV Manukai.” Agustin says they “opened a hatch and discovered a large black spider along with numerous baby spiders which were later identified by the University of Guam entomologist to be Black Widows. When the stevedores discovered the Black Widows they immediately shut the hatch and notified Port police of their findings.”

Port police in turn contacted Guam Customs and Quarantine which ordered a halt to the off-loading operations.

Customs later told Port officials that stevedores could continue off loading the Guam cargo on the upper decks but not discharge cargo from the affected hatch. The off-loading operation is expected to be completed later today. Once that’s done, Agustin says the ship will be fumigated dockside and then the remaining cargo will be off loaded.

Back on July 15th, the MV Altavia arrived from Korea with thousands of spiders aboard. It was placed in quarantine and then turned away without being allowed to off-load its entire cargo.