Two livestock ships were refused entry to multiple countries after leaving Spain in December due to alleged presence of the bovine disease bluetongue on board. The Karim Allah is carrying a reported 895 calves, and the Elbeik is carrying 1,776 animals.
The Guardian says that official veterinary inspections of both ships had been due to take place late last week in Cyprus and Sardinia, but neither ship approached shore to allow vets on board. Now in an update, Reuters reports that the Karim Allah struggled to get supplies, and as a result the animals onboard went "several days" without food. The ship is now reported to be moored at Cartagena’s Escombreras dock, and the Elbeik is moored off the Turkish Cypriot port of Famagusta.
The fate of the animals is unknown, but they have had been at sea for more than 60 days so no-one has any idea how or if they have been getting any food or if there are any still left alive. There’s no doubt that, if still alive, they have endured months of suffering. And unlike the similar Cormo Express disaster, these animals will not have had a veterinarian onboard to make appropriate judgement calls on euthanasia.
The ElBeik’s voyage
18 December Leaves Tarragona, Spain
29 December Arrives in Derince, Turkey, leaves on 1 January
25 January Arrives in Tripoli, Libya
1 February Arrives in Alexandria, Egypt, leaves on 4 February
19 February Off the coast of Cyprus, near Famagusta
The Karim Allah’s voyage
18 December Leaves Cartagena, Spain
27 December Arrives in İskenderun, Turkey, leaves on 1 January
6 January Arrives in Tripoli, Libya, leaves on 9 January
27 January Arrives in Augusta, Italy, leaves 29 January
19 February Reaches waters near Cagliari, Sardinia
22 February Arrives back at Cartagena
The annual cost of departmental employees who now oversee the live ex industry has risen to $15 million. The new computer system required to run this woeful industry will cost $222.2 million so now the Government is finally asking 19 businesses to pay! 19 businesses in Australia being propped up to this extent! And the exporter response to the Australian government’s plan to recoup the costs of certifying and regulating the live export industry: “Our competitiveness is being shot to pieces”!
Beef Central reports that since the Awassi Express controversy in 2018, the Federal Government has expanded the amount of resourcing it needs to regulate the industry. Annual license fees are set to increase from $25,000 to $106,551, approved arrangement fees for sea shipments from $20,000 to $85,241, and the cost to register an export premises will increase from $5,000 to $21,311, reports Beef Central.
The Awassi Express controversy is just one of countless animal welfare tragedies that has shocked the nation. This is an industry which has consistently shown that self-regulation does not provide adequate animal welfare, or indeed crew welfare, outcomes. Yet, the 19 licenced exporters operating at the moment expect the Department to “streamline their regulatory processes.”
Really? AMSA has already decided to step up its regulation of the industry after recent tragedies such as the loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 and the danger to the crew posed by the unseaworthy Barkly Pearl, and VALE welcomes the Department’s move to recoup its losses as it tries to improve the performance of the trade. What other business gets this level of taxpayer subsidy? It is time to stop pandering to an industry that repeatedly endangers crews and cargo when it could readily be replaced by Australia’s boxed meat trade.
Splash 24/7 reports that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will carry out a focused inspection campaign (FIC) on livestock ships from March 1 to August 31. The campaign will target every livestock ship departing Australian ports.
Livestock ships are one of the oldest category of merchant ships and have been plagued by severe safety issues in recent years. Amongst other incidents there has been the Jawan wobbling wildly out of Portland, the loss of Gulf Livestock-1 (carrying NZ cattle but a regular export ship from Australia before that) and the Barkly Pearl with such concerning issues it was banned from Australian waters for 2 years. On top of that, according to Neale Prior of the West Australian, Emanuel Export's legal team have just claimed that their former director provided "questionable" pen air turnover details for the infamous Awassi Express in 2014 albeit not in his capacity as a director for Emanuel Export. It seems as though AMSA has said "enough is enough".
The new Australian campaign will look closely at the maintenance and repair requirements of livestock ships in relation to international conventions as well as the ships crews’ familiarity with determining the ship’s stability and the use of accurate information for the livestock cargo carried when calculating stability.
Once AMSA start going over these ships with a fine tooth comb, watch this space....