HSE called after rats are discovered on ship deck at Foynes port in Limerick

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Rats were spotted on a ship docked in Foynes Port

Rats were spotted on a ship docked in Foynes Port

HSE OFFICIALS were called to attend to a ship docked in Foynes Port in Limerick over the weekend when rats were detected on board.

But spokespeople from the HSE and the Doyle Shipping Group have moved to reassure the public that the “small infestation” was handled properly and there is no threat to the cargo.

The ship, which travelled from the United States, was carrying animal feed.

“The crew noticed a few rats running around the deck, so we stopped discharge. We wanted to check all the holds to make sure everything was okay. We contacted the relevant authorities and it was dealt with properly,” said a spokesperson from the shipping group.

Discharging of the cargo was suspended on Sunday, September 17, when the rats were spotted on deck.

But the animal feed in the ship is safe, as the rats would not have survived had they made it into the cargo.

“Rats wouldn’t be able to get inside or survive inside because the hatches are sealed. If they were inside the animal feed itself, they would have been dead, because they were airtight containers and they were travelling for about 14 days. Rats would only have survived for about two days.

“So there was just one or two spotted on the deck running around. We never spot rats on the deck so that’s why we contacted Port Health. There are absolutely no concerns for inside the feed,” added the spokesperson.

A HSE spokesman confirmed that “the HSE Environmental Health Service was alerted to a rodent infestation at Foynes Port on Sunday, September 17, 2017.

“The infestation pertained to a cargo vessel from New Orleans carrying animal feed only. “Environmental health officers have been on site and are satisfied that this matter has been dealt with in an appropriate manner. Proper precautions and procedures have been followed and there is no threat to public health,” added the spokesperson.

The cargo has been discharged since the incident, after all precautions were followed.