Rate this article:  

Updated 6 April 2021

From 12 April 2021, all vessels arriving in Argentina, and that in the past 24 months have visited certain ports in Asia Pacific between May and September, will be subject to an assessment of their “Asian gypsy moth risk” - and possibly an inspection and implementation of phytosanitary measures upon berthing. 

In October 2020, the Argentine National Food Safety and Quality Service (SENASA) recently approved a new resolution (764/2020) prescribing measures to prevent the introduction of Asian Gypsy Moths (AGM) into the country. As with the regulations in force in countries such as the United States, Canada, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, the aim of the new Argentine resolution is to ensure that all life stages of AGM, including egg masses, are removed from vessels prior to arriving in Argentina.

The new Argentine resolution requires vessels that, in the past 24 months, have visited one of the AGM regulated areas in Asia during the specified risk period, that is, during the AGM flight season when females lay their eggs, to:

  • obtain a valid pre-departure phytosanitarycertificate from a recognized certification body issued at the last port of call in the AGM regulated areas; and
  • forward a copy of the pre-departure phytosanitarycertificate together with two years of port of call data to the vessel’s local agent in time to ensure the information can be made available to Argentine officials at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

Argentina base their AGM requirements on the following definition of regulated areas and specified risk periods: 

AGM regulated area
ports located between 60°N and 20°N latitude inclusive

Specified Risk

Eastern Russia
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Vanino, Nevelsk, Kholmsk, Korsakov, Kozmino, Slavyanka, Posiet; Zarubino, Vostochny, Nakhodka, Vladivostok

15 Jul - 25 Sep

All Chinese ports

1 Jun - 30 Sep

Busan, Jinhae, Masan, Tongyeong, Jangseongpo, Okpo, Gohyeon, Incheon, Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, Daesan, Taean, Donghae-Mukho, Okgye, Hosan, Ulsan, Pohang, Gwangyang, Hadong, Samcheonpo, Yeosu, Gunsan, Mokpo, Boryeong.

1 Jun - 30 Sep

Northern Japan
Prefectures of Aomori, Fukushima, Hokkaido, Iwate, Miyagi

1 Jul - 30 Sep

Western Japan
Prefectures of Akita, Ishikawa, Niigata, Toyama, Yamagata

25 Jun - 15 Sep

Eastern Japan
Prefectures of Aichi, Chiba, Fukui, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Mie, Shizuoka, Tokyo

20 Jun - 20 Aug

Southern Japan
Prefectures of Ehime, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Okayama, Osaka, Saga, Shimane, Tokushima, Tottori, Wakayama, Yamaguchi

1 Jun - 10 Aug

Far Southern Japan
Prefecture of Okinawa

25 May - 30 Jun


Vessels that in the past 24 months have visited one of the AGM regulated areas outside the specified risk period are exempted from the certification requirements but are still required to notify SENASA about such visits. All vessels arriving in Argentina that, in the past 24 months, have visited one of the AGM regulated areas will be subject to an assessment of risk to determine the need for inspection. A vessel’s overall AGM risk, and the extent and location of the required inspection, will be determined based on her trading pattern, length of stay in regulated areas, official certificates as well as seasonal variations such as population levels of AGM. Hence, whilst vessels that are able to document that they have been inspected and “certified free of Asian Gypsy Moth” prior to arriving in Argentina are less likely to be required to undergo an AGM inspection in Argentina, a certificate is no guarantee that an inspection will not be required.

The new Argentine resolution was published in the Official Gazette on 14 October 2020 and was meant to enter into force 90 days after this date, i.e. on 12 January 2021. However, through Disposición 1/2021, SENASA decided to postpone implementation of the said regulation until 12 April 2021. This will allow port procedures and computer systems to be adjusted and ensure that implementation of the new requirements impacts in the least possible way on the normal operation of the ships that arrive at Argentine ports.

SENASA has reportedly also confirmed that the new requirements will apply “retroactively”. Hence, if a ship arrives in Argentina on 12 April 2021, the period to be considered would be from 12 April 2019. If the vessel visited one of the AGM regulated areas in that period, this will have to be stated in the prearrival information; and if the visit occurred during the specified risk period, a phytosanitary certificate should preferably be presented as well.  

We are grateful to Vega & Co P&I Services (Argentina/Paraguay) and Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L in Buenos Aires for their support in preparing this alert, and to the latter for providing an English version (unofficial translation) of the new Argentine requirements in their circulars 035/2020 and 040/2021.


Why is AGM a problem?

The AGM is a destructive forest pest known to spread via ocean-going vessels in international trade. The pest has established populations only in countries in Asia Pacific, such as Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. If introduced in countries where it does not exist naturally, it has the potential to seriously affect the country’s agricultural and forest resources. Adult moths frequently lay their egg masses on vessels and shipping containers, and since these egg clusters often survive to hatch at ports of call around the world, exclusion efforts are considered a priority by many local port authorities.

Other countries that regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM

In addition to Argentina, countries currently known to regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM are: the United States (US), Canada, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

While the purpose of the regulation is the same in each country, that is, to prevent incursions of AGM, there is no uniform international definition of the AGM regulated areas or specified risk periods and each country may provide their own list of recognized certification bodies. Our “Frequently asked questions - managing Asian Gypsy Moth risks” provides a summary of the requirements set forth by each of the regulating countries as well as links to relevant government websites.


Members and clients with vessels calling ports in East Russia, Japan, Korea, and Northern China are advised to remind their Masters of the approaching AGM flight season. The importance of arriving in regulating countries free of AGM and of providing port officials with the required AGM documentation prior to arrival should be emphasised and instructions for proper AGM self-inspections en route should be made available onboard.

Guides for conducting vessel self-inspections have been published by various authorities and are available to download. Examples are the Canadian authorities’ “Inspect Before Entry“ and the US authorities’ “Gypsy Moth Inspectional Pocket Guide”. The guides provide helpful instructions to vessel crews on what the egg masses look like, where they might be found onboard the vessels, and how the eggs should be removed and destroyed.


A printer friendly pdf-version of Gard’s FAQ on managing AGM risks is available here.