Rolling Livestock Carrier Returns to Port

Published Nov 22, 2018 6:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Panama-flagged livestock carrier Jawan has returned to the Port of Portland, Victoria, Australia, after the ship started rolling heavily soon after her departure.

The vessel, bound for Muscat, Oman, was carrying 4,327 breed stock cattle. She has reportedly now been detained by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and an investigation will be conducted. 

It has been reported to the Port of Portland that there are no injuries to the cattle or any personnel on board. However, the nation's Animal Justice Party has said that it does not believe this could be the case. “We do not believe this for a second. As you can see in the video the ship is forcefully rolling from side to side, and without a doubt these confused and terrified cows are being thrown all over the place hour after hour.”

Former long-time live export veterinarian Dr. Lynn Simpson said that had the Portland harbor pilot not made the decision to return to Portland and moor the ship the voyage would most certainly have resulted in a catastrophe, most likely the capsizing of the vessel with the almost definite loss and death of all 4,357 cattle on board, but also with the likely loss of some if not all of the crew in the notoriously rough seas on the Great Australian Bight. 

“Having sailed through that water many times myself with properly loaded and balanced live export consignments, I have to assume whoever did the load plan for this voyage was working with incorrect livestock weights, overloaded the ship or was incompetent for the job. Regardless, the Department of Agriculture (DAWR) should be requesting a “show cause notice” as to why this company should be allowed to load another ship. I applaud AMSA for their swift action in insisting that cattle be removed form the vessel to ensure safer stability immediately.”

Vets Against Live Export has also made the comment in a blog that it would be dubious that no injuries had occurred. “The incident does highlight however, that just tweaking around the edges of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (and having the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) is never ever going to make this trade safe. It is pretty obvious what would have happened if the vessel had been on the open ocean, away from the safe haven of port. As Keniry (2004) so rightly stated:: 'the live export industry is uniquely and inherently risky.'” 

Australia's live export industry has, most recently, been under fire since whistleblower footage was aired on 60 Minutes in April which showed images on board an August 2017 voyage of the Awassi Express to the Middle East for Emanuel Exports. During the voyage, 2,400 sheep died of heat stress.