Report 155: MV Ocean Drover - Cattle exported to Indonesia in July 2019

Cattle exported to Indonesia in July 2019


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Voyage summary

A consignment of 18,599 cattle for 4 exporters were loaded on the MV Ocean Drover commencing at Townsville between 3 and 4 July 2019 and concluding at Darwin between 8 and 9 July 2019. The vessel departed on 9 July 2019. The first discharge was at Jakarta, Indonesia between 12 and 17 July 2019. The second discharge was at Panjang, Indonesia between 18 and 20 July 2019, making this an 18 day voyage.

An Independent Observer (observer) boarded the vessel at Townsville and remained on board until completion of discharge.

The mortality rate for the voyage was 0.04% (8 cattle). This does not exceed the reportable mortality rate. The causes of these mortalities were not considered to be linked to any systemic failure by an exporter.

The following comments represent a summary of key observations from the observer who accompanied this voyage.

Independent observations of the implementation of procedures to ensure health and welfare of livestock

Exporter documentation

Exporter arrangements were available to address procedures relating to livestock management from loading through to discharge and contingencies.


Loading went well with no incidents observed. The stocking densities in the pens were in accordance with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 2011 (version 2.3) (ASEL) requirements and there was sufficient space for the cattle to lie down.


Five LiveCorp Accredited Stockpersons (stockpersons) accompanied the consignment and were responsible for implementing the exporters’ procedures to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock throughout the voyage.

The Chief Officer (CO) was the main point of contact with the observer and stockperson. The bosun had extensive livestock carrier experience and was constantly on the move around the vessel. The CO and master were seen below decks with the bosun. The livestock crew performance was satisfactory.

Daily routine

There was a daily meeting at 10:00am attended by the CO, bosun, stockpersons and observer. Topics of discussion included the fodder, water, bedding instructions issues to the bosun, wash down and discharge.

The night watch was from 8:00pm until 5:00pm. One crew member was rostered for one hour to walk all alleyways of the vessel. The night watch tasks were to check water / feed access and look for issues such as overflowing water troughs.

Feed and water

There was sufficient fodder loaded to supply the animals and meet ASEL requirements. Water was generated using four reverse osmosis units. During the voyage, there was an issue with lack of parts for water troughs. The observer found some troughs with broken valves or with the water turned off resulting in a temporary lack of water. However, the CO and bosun worked hard to resolve each water supply issue.


Decks 1 to 5 are enclosed and Decks 6 to 8 are open decks. No ventilation issues were observed during the voyage.

Temperatures were recorded at around 9.30am daily from gauges on each deck. The temperatures throughout the Townsville – Darwin leg were moderate, rising slightly on the Darwin – Jakarta leg of the voyage. The maximum temperature recorded was 29°C.

Pen conditions

Pen and pad conditions were generally very good. There were some instances when pens became wet due to inundation of water from overflowing valves, leaking troughs, troughs emptied into alleyways, a broken bilge pump, blocked drains and whilst transferring water between tanks on board. The response from the stockpersons was to move the cattle to a dry pen. Sawdust bedding was used in hospital pens, ramps and in pens to improve pad condition as required.

A wash down of some decks that held cattle loaded in Townsville (Decks 1, 2, 3 and 5) was undertaken on days 7 and 8. Some water inundation occurred on Deck 1 during the wash due to a broken bilge pump. The repair was completed in 3 hours and no animal welfare issues were observed. A second deck wash was undertaken on day 13 on Decks 6 to 8 with no issues observed.

Health and welfare

The cattle that required treatments were separated into hospital pens that contained bedding, water and feed supplies and were monitored until discharge. During the voyage a number of cattle were treated for lameness and minor injuries.

There were 8 mortalities during the voyage with the cause of death attributed to respiratory disease and misadventure. There were no symptoms of heat stress or shy feeders observed during the voyage.


Discharge in Jakarta was prolonged due to a lack of trucks and the extended turnaround time from the destination yards. Discharge in Panjang was organised and well managed without incident. There were no animal welfare issues observed during discharges at both ports.


The exporter arrangements were observed to be implemented during the voyage and to be compliant with ASEL requirements.

Last reviewed: 28 November 2019
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