Guam – A cargo ship infested with black widow spiders was treated twice before the cargo was unloaded this weekend.
Port stevedores halted off-loading two times after the ship passed Guam Customs and Quarantine inspections but customs officials tell PNC they’re confident no spiders made it off the vessel.
After the second infestation was reported inspections expanded from the cargo facility to the entire ship where additional infestations discovered.
“Additional treatments were made on board the ship of all the cargo that was coming off as part of our process,” Customs Public Information Officer Johnric Mendiola told PNC. “All items that were being removed after that point were thoroughly inspected and treated before it was able to be offloaded dockside.”
Pestex handled the extermination efforts which Mendiola says included spot treatment, saturation of the area and fogging.
All of this was done with green ridge tied up dock side, and not out at sea. Port General Manager Joanne Brown says the ship was too large to handle the extermination efforts in the harbor.
But how did customs officers miss the spiders during their first two inspections of the ship?
“There’s different factors. The size of the ship, the space to work around on the ship so those are things that could have been the reason why,” Mendiola explained. “We are looking into it to find out what was done in the initial course of inspection.”
Meanwhile, senator Chris Duenas plans to honor the stevedores who caught the infestations with a legislative presentation next week.
In addition to the black widow spiders customs Mendiola says brown wolf spiders and snails were found on the ship. The snails have been sealed and contained and samples were sent to Honolulu for testing. Soil was also located on one of the items bound for Guam but Mendiola says the soil did not leave the vessel and the item was treated before being off loaded.
The Green Ridge left Guam Monday morning.