Live Export

Red tape delays live sheep vessel Al Shuwaikh’s departure for three days

Terry Sim, February 17, 2017

The live sheep vessel Al Shuwaikh

The live sheep vessel Al Shuwaikh

LIVE export vessel Al Shuwaikh was forced to delay its departure from Port Adelaide for three days after completing engine repairs last Sunday.

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council said the vessel was granted Australian Maritime Safety Authority approval to depart Port Adelaide for Fremantle on Wednesday night, after spare engine parts were flown to Adelaide on Tuesday night, February 14.

The Al Shuwaikh has about 32,000 sheep on board and is now on its way to load more sheep at Fremantle before departing for the Arabian Gulf.

An AMSA spokesman said today he understood “bad fuel” taken on overseas had damaged some Al Shuwaikh engine parts, which were replaced by Sunday night.

“But in doing those repairs they used all of the spare parts on board the vessel.

“So AMSA detained the vessel on Sunday for not having adequate parts for its voyage,” he said.

“We enforce the Australian international regulations to do with ships and one of those is having an appropriate amount of spare parts for the intended voyage,” he said.

“So they used their parts and didn’t have enough, so we detained the vessel for that reason.

“The vessel then arranged for spare parts to be flown in, which arrived on Wednesday,” the spokesman said.

“Then an (AMSA) inspector confirmed that there were sufficient parts and the ship was released from detention (12pm February 15 Adelaide time).”

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Ship repairs completed on Sunday

Sheep on the Al Shuwaikh in Port Adelaide.

Sheep on the Al Shuwaikh in Port Adelaide.

An ALEC statement said the vessel experienced an engine problem last Friday morning, February February 10, when it was scheduled to depart. The ship’s engineers investigated the situation, with an engineer from the manufacturer’s Australian agents attending on Saturday and overseeing the necessary repairs, which were completed by Sunday morning, ALEC said.

“ALEC and the exporter share the public interest in the welfare of the sheep on board.

“All of Al Shuwaikh’s livestock systems have remained fully functional throughout, with sheep having full access to food, water and ventilated fresh air,” ALEC said.

An Australian Government-accredited veterinarian and stockman remained on board and closely monitoring the stock in conjunction with 30 Al Shuwaikh crew members who work exclusively in on-board livestock management, ALEC said. The veterinarian has again confirmed the health of the sheep has not been compromised by the delay in any way.

The ship is carrying less than half its capacity, with sheep loaded over two periods on Thursday – in the early morning and the evening, to avoid the hotter conditions experienced during the day.

Stock were loaded and penned in accordance with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), and some sheep have been subsequently moved to provide even more space and shade. On board temperatures remained under 30 degrees Celsius throughout the loading, ALEC said.

To view video footage of the sheep on board the Al Shuwaikh, click here.

The exporter for the shipment is EMS Rural Exports and the vessel is owned and operated by Kuwait-based Livestock Transport and Trading, represented in Australia by Rural Export and Trading (WA).


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  1. Katrina Love, February 21, 2017

    And so it sits in Fremantle port. The sheep that were first loaded in Adelaide have been on board for 10 days. They now face a voyage of 15 days absolute minimum, but up to 30 days. The Al Shuwaikh’s average voyage length from Fremantle to the Middle East is 19 days.

    Thankfully more and more live export ships sit idle, Wellard is going bust and we see the writing forming on the wall. It’s time for Australia to reject this vile and inherently cruel trade and pursue ethical, compassionate and environmentally-friendly alternatives.

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