The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) has stopped a Korean cargo ship from entering Fijian waters after it was ordered to leave New Zealand on Sunday.

Dense fouling of barnacles and tube worms were discovered on the hull of the DL Marigold, posing the invasive threat of an unwanted marine species.

The ships crew signalled its intention to sail to Fiji to clean the vessel before returning to New Zealand to finish unloading its cargo of palm kernel feed for dairy cows.

But the authority said it had notified the vessel's India-based agents, Campbell Shipping, that the DL Marigold would not be allowed to enter Fijian waters to clean its hull. Campbell Shipping said the DL Marigold was not part of its fleet.

Korean company Daelim lists the DL Marigold as being one of its vessels, describing it as a bulk and log carrier. It was built in 2012 and is 180 metres long.

The boat docked in the New Zealand port of Tauranga on 4 March after sailing from Indonesia and had been scheduled to stay for nine days.

It was the first time an international vessel had been ordered to leave a New Zealand port for biofouling reasons.

BAF chief executive Xavier Khan said the Marigold could cause biofouling that could devastate Fiji's marine environment, if an invasive species was introduced.

Mr Khan said marine species carried on the ship's hull could establish a reproductive population in Fiji that would multiple into pest proportions. He said invasive species were already causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the natural riches that Fijians depended on.

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliffe supported the decision adding that Fiji as the Co-host to this year's United Nations Oceans' Conference should take an exemplary approach in protecting it's oceanic patch.

He said Fiji retained a largely pristine, chaste environment that the country relies upon for sustainable development.

Source: radionz.co.nz