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ALEC confirms support for MV Jawan investigation

THE Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council has today strongly endorsed a full investigation into the circumstances which led to 4,327 dairy heifers being unloaded from a livestock vessel at Portland this week.

ALEC CEO Brett Pointing said ALEC would support a review by industry regulators, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, into the factors which prevented the MV Jawan from sailing from Portland in Victoria on its planned journey to Pakistan and Oman.

“If the exporter or any other party has done the wrong thing, they must be held to account,” Mr Pointing said.

“Exporters were shocked by the images showing the way the vessel was listing. As the authorities get to the bottom of this, we are 100 per cent behind them because what we saw was unacceptable.”

Shortly after the departure of the MV Jawan from the Port of Portland on November 22, the pilot aboard directed the vessel back to berth due to stability concerns. The vessel returned to its departure point and AMSA commenced an investigation into its seaworthiness.

The stability issues could not be resolved and AMSA confirmed on Tuesday the vessel would not be cleared to sail with livestock on board, thus requiring the cattle to be unloaded under the supervision of DAWR and returned to a nearby export quarantine property. Unloading was completed yesterday (Wednesday) and the vessel departed the Port of Portland late yesterday afternoon.

“AMSA surveys every livestock vessel prior to departure and all vessels are required to have an AMSA-issued Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock,” Mr Pointing said.

“Incidents like these are rare because the regulatory systems governing the industry act as a rigorous safety net to ensure that, in addition to the pre-loading preparation undertaken by the exporter, consignments are well planned and able to sail as intended.”

“As always, the wellbeing of the livestock is our highest priority and the way welfare has been successfully upheld in recent days is a credit to all the agencies involved.”

The MV Jawan is an AMSA-accredited vessel and has serviced Australia’s livestock export trade for many years, especially markets in South East Asia. The company responsible for the shipment, Perth-based Atlas Exports, is one of the very few licensed Australian livestock exporters which is not a member of ALEC.

“ALEC represents the overwhelming majority of the industry, both in terms of licensed export businesses and the livestock volumes exported, because almost all exporters share the view that participating collectively in industry governance and reform builds consensus and promotes accountability,” Mr Pointing said.

“That’s why our members have formally supported ALEC’s new Code of Conduct – to foster a positive industry culture and send a clear message that we will call-out unacceptable practices if they occur in our industry.”

“Atlas does not participate in industry matters in this way and, as such, ALEC is unable to speak on its behalf.”


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