Discovery of insects forces Seychelles to close airport cargo; the analysis shows no danger
Bush crickets are not considered a danger to Seychelles, but authorities have closed the cargo area for testing. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – A preliminary analysis carried out on two insects caught on Tuesday in the cargo area of the Seychelles International Airport indicates that they are bush crickets rather than locusts as previously thought.
Bush crickets are not considered a danger to Seychelles, but authorities have closed the cargo area for testing.
The general manager of the National Biosafety Agency (NBA) Marc Naiken told a press conference that “the two insects were intercepted on Turkish Airlines TK 748 from Turkey and arriving in Seychelles on Tuesday July 20 at around 11:05 am”.
“While the documents were being checked by NBA officers, an Air Seychelles officer discovered and caught an insect which was jumping on a can of watermelon. The insect looked like a locust,” Naiken said.
Another similar insect seen flying in the cargo terminal was also captured and placed in a container to prevent it from escaping.
“The health authority has been notified and a decision has been made to spray the entire area to ensure that no other insects that may have entered the cargo area escape. A buffer zone has also been fumigated.” , Naiken continued.
Air Seychelles informed all incoming airlines that the cargo area was subsequently closed so that no further cargo unloading could take place on that day.
Naiken explained that the next morning, officers went to the cargo area at 6 a.m. to check for any other bugs. After a thorough inspection, the perishables were released.
The flight was carrying cargo for five importers who brought 32 varieties of fruit and vegetables to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. Among the goods was frozen processed pork.
“Once we caught the insect, our staff began to work to identify the insect in order to have a preliminary identification, which was necessary to help us know what risks it might have posed if it happened. was escaped, ”Naiken said.
He pointed out that based on the information gathered, the results showed that the insects were two male bush crickets, a creature that is not dangerous.
“This type of insect feeds on other insects as well as on tender grass. It lives in the Mediterranean region. We will send a sample to our regional partners for confirmatory analysis,” Naiken said.
“According to biosecurity laws, it is the responsibility of the captain to ensure that he does not bring any pests, insects or diseases that would have a negative effect on the economy or the ecology of the country. Any action taken will be directed. towards the airline because they are the ones who accepted the goods. They will be the ones who will take care of the border control in Turkey for not doing their job properly, ”Naiken said.