Cruise ship tourist slapped with £1,800 fine for banned item

Souvenirs are a great way to remember a holiday. But one traveller got more than they bargained for when they tried to bring banned items off a cruise ship.

A tourist travelling to Australia on a cruise ship from New Zealand was recently fined $3,300 (£1,815) for breaching the country’s strict rules.

The tourist attempted to enter Brisbane International Cruise Terminal carrying several forbidden items.

The traveller had two live plants, a coconut shell, seed pods, betel nut, mustard sticks, shells, coral and dried plant materials.

Dr Chris Locke, Deputy Secretary for Biosecurity and Compliance, said the incident should serve as a warning of Australia’s biosecurity laws.

Dr Locke said: “It is fantastic to have cruise ships back at our ports, but we do not want anyone to go home with more than they bargained for by breaching our biosecurity laws.

“Australia is a unique place and the protection of our precious environment and wildlife is why we are so vigilant when it comes to biosecurity.

“We want to ensure that everyone on board cruise ships disembark with great memories, not infringements or pests or diseases that could potentially devastate Australia’s plants, animals and agricultural systems.”

Australia is free from many diseases and pests found around the world and has very strict border rules to protect its environment.

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Plant material, such as those carried by the tourist, could be contaminated and create a biosecurity risk.

Australia increased its penalties for breaking the rules on January 1, meaning the tourist was hit with a heftier fee.

Most live plants being imported to Australia must have a valid import permit and even a single plant could present a risk.

Cruise tourists have to be especially careful as each country they visit may have different rules.

Several countries won’t allow people to bring fresh food ashore so guests will need to check before trying to carry buffet food off the ship.

Packaged snacks and dried food is usually permitted but guests should check with staff before disembarking.

Fresh fruit and plants are often forbidden by border security so guests should always check before packing.

Australia has only recently reopened to cruise tourism, following a lengthy shutdown during the pandemic.

Cruise passengers will also need to respect and follow the laws in each country that they visit.

In several Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, camouflage clothing is banned as people could be confused for the police.

There are very strict penalties for drug possession in some countries and passengers will be subject to local laws if they break them.

British guests under the age of 21 will not be able to drink in the USA or on some American cruise lines.

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