Alice Geary16:27, Aug 02 2020
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The world’s largest livestock carrier, the Ocean Drover, entered Timaru’s port on Saturday night for its first visit in two years.
A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spokesperson said the Ocean Drover was in Timaru to collect up to 14,000 cattle bound for China.
Saturday’s arrival marked the third time the boat has docked in Timaru. The vessel was due to depart, carrying a mix of dairy and beef cattle, in a few days’ time once loading was complete, they said.
“The Animal Welfare Export Certificate sets stock numbers for this export at no more than 14,000 cattle, predominantly dairy – friesian and jersey – with some beef – hereford and angus,” they said.
* Ocean Drover departs Timaru in foggy conditions bound for Napier
* Ocean Drover docks at Timaru to load thousands of cows bound for China
* Ocean Drover livestock carrier waits just off coast of Timaru
* World’s largest purpose built livestock carrier ships dairy heifers to China
“No export of live animals can proceed until we have conducted a post-loading review to ensure we are completely satisfied with the conditions on board.”
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MPI introduced strengthened requirements last year stating that exporters were required to provide a report on the condition of the animals at 30 days after their arrival at their destination. There are also added conditions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In response to Covid-19, MPI introduced two further conditions that exporters must meet for their Animal Welfare Export Certificate applications to be granted,” the spokesperson said.
“The master of the ship [is] to provide a contingency plan for a rejection at the port of arrival or a delay in unloading [and] the exporter satisfies MPI that there is unlikely to be any delay in the unloading of the cattle from the ship or movement of the cattle to a quarantine facility after arrival.”
They said the cattle will be accompanied by 10 stock handlers, of whom two are veterinarians.
Livestock exports have been operating for the past few months and the timing of this shipment has not been affected by Covid-19, they said.
MPI did not know where the cattle were coming from, commenting that often a shipment will have stock from more than one farm and from different regions.
“Live animal exports can help in supporting New Zealand farmers to manage stock numbers.”
The Ocean Drover is 176.7 metres long and 31.1m wide and is capable of transporting 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle.