A ship carrying palm kernel extract is still anchored off the coast of Tauranga, where it has been waiting since September 6.

A Ministry for Primary Industries spokeswoman said "there is no current update on the ship" Molat, which is carrying 23,000 tonnes of palm kernel extract, commonly referred to as PKE. An unknown quantity of PKE came from an unregistered facility in Malaysia.

Steve Gilbert, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) border clearance services director, told the Bay of Plenty Times last week import rules required PKE to be imported only from facilities approved and regularly audited in the exporting country.

Mr Gilbert said the vessel was a bulk carrier and it appeared PKE from the unregistered facility had been stored with product from an approved facility, which may have resulted in contamination.


"The danger is that the risk product could be carrying pests or diseases that could harm New Zealand's primary industries or natural environment.

"Untreated PKE poses a biosecurity risk to New Zealand. PKE is produced at high temperatures, which reduces the biosecurity risk. So the main risk is contamination from insects or plant pests after production."