Sheep export ship clears hurdle for Middle East shipment

Terry Sim, April 24, 2018

MIDDLE EAST-bound live sheep export ship, the MV Awassi Express, has regained certification to carry livestock after being delayed for about two weeks in the Port of Fremantle.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said today it had endorsed the vessel’s Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock, clearing the way for it to be loaded with livestock this week, subject to approval from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Western Australian-based exporter Emanuel Exports was delayed more than two weeks from loading the Awassi Express with 57,000 sheep after the vessel featured in controversial footage of dead and dying sheep previous voyages released by 60 Minutes earlier this month.

The footage and photographs showed distressed and dying sheep on the Awassi Express voyage in August 2017 on which 2400 sheep died en route to the Middle East. This prompted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to demand third party testing of the vessel’s ventilation systems and compliance with Marine Order 43, which requires minimum air flow across all areas of the livestock pens, before issued an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock.

An AMSA statement today said AMSA surveyors attended the Awassi Express yesterday in Fremantle to complete an ACCL endorsement survey.

“Improvements made to the ventilation system were verified as meeting the requirements of the legislation.

“The inspection included spot checks of the third party testing,” the AMSA statement said.

The AMSA statement said the Awassi Express’ operator has also installed an automatic watering system to ensure water is provided to all pens during the voyage without manual intervention.

“AMSA has endorsed the vessel’s ACCL and completed a livestock preload inspection.

“The vessel is expected to load livestock later this week, subject to approval from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.”

Department yet to receive export licence application

The department said today it has not yet received an export permit application for the Awassi Express, but the exporter would need to comply with additional licence conditions.

The licence conditions which have been agreed to by Emanuel Exports include an independent department veterinarian to monitor and record the health and welfare of all animals on board. The vet will send back daily reports and images and be able to issue directions on the vessel to ensure the welfare of the sheep.

Other conditions include:

Adding an additional accredited stockman on top of the exporter’s normal practice of two accredited stockmen.

Improved ventilation equipment on the vessel.

Ensuring that decks are maintained to deliver animal health and welfare.

Animal welfare, feed, water and bedding inspected and recorded four times each day, including by the independent department vet, and a daily report with images of conditions provided to the department.

Reduced stocking density by 17.5 percent.

Requiring the first port of discharge to be Kuwait when traveling to multiple ports in the Middle East, providing greater space for the remaining livestock as they head towards higher humidity ports.

The department said the conditions are designed to ensure the health and welfare of sheep on this voyage while longer term measures are developed for the industry.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


  1. CHRISTINE OSBORNE, April 25, 2018

    It is too late for this ship to leave? It is already very hot in the Arabian Gulf and why take sheep bound for Doha on an unnecessary journey up to Kuwait? Three days sail, then three days back. The article speaks of reduced stock density, which is to the good, but in rough seas, unless packed well — say no more; you have seen the videos of animals being hurled about.

Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -