Report 156: MV Ocean Swagman - Cattle exported to Indonesia in July 2019

Cattle exported to Indonesia in July 2019


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Voyage summary

A consignment of 6,553 cattle were loaded on the MV Ocean Swagman at Darwin on 8 July 2019 and departed the same day. The first discharge of cattle was in Tanjung Priok, Indonesia between 13 and 15 July 2019. The second discharge was in Panjang, Indonesia between 15 and 16 July 2019, making this a 9 day voyage.

There were no mortalities during the voyage.

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

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.


Animals were a loaded in accordance with the load plan which was compliant with Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 2011 (version 2.3) (ASEL) and observed to have sufficient room to access feed and water. It was noted that 50% of cattle were to be able to lay down at will. Loading was well managed and no issues observed. Hospital pens were free of cattle and not used as storage areas at the commencement of the voyage.


A LiveCorp Accredited Stockperson (stockperson) with many years of experience and a trainee stockperson accompanied the shipment. The ship’s crew are also very experienced on livestock vessels and no problems were encountered.

All shipboard personnel performed their assigned duties well and welfare of the shipment was of paramount importance. Any concerns raised at meetings were noted and attended to immediately. Communications between all members of the crew were open and cordial. The observer was asked regularly if he had any concerns regarding the shipment.

Daily routine

Meetings were held daily at 10:00am with the Captain, Chief Officer (CO), Bosun, stockperson and observer present. Any issues from the previous day were discussed as well as forward planning for the coming day. The observer was always asked if he had any concerns or input.

Animals were fed twice daily with some additional top ups and chaff. Crew members worked in shifts and were constantly attending to the needs of the stock.

Night watchman were in attendance and had radio contact with the bridge to report any problems immediately.

Feed and water

Water was supplied through an automatic supply system which worked well throughout the voyage. No dry troughs were observed and cattle had free access to water at all times. Troughs were cleaned daily and when required at other times.

Pelleted feed was dispensed through a conveyor delivery system, as well as manually into extra feed troughs placed in all pens. Chaff was manually distributed to encourage shy feeders and animals in hospital pens to eat.


The ship has a good ventilation system with continual airflow on all decks. No strong ammonia smell was detected by the observer during his observations.

Deck temperature and humidity levels were recorded daily by the CO. The highest temperature recorded on a deck was 32°C whilst the ship was stationary during discharge.

Pen conditions

Pens were not washed down during the voyage, as it is was only of a short duration. No excessive faecal build up occurred.

Pads remained moist and were not detrimental to animal welfare. Very little faecal contamination was observed on animals after laying down. Wood shavings were only used as bedding in sick pens.

Health and welfare

No cattle showed signs of heat stress during the voyage. Three animals were placed into hospital pens to so they could be observed more closely. Antibiotics were administered as a precautionary measure and all were discharged without incidence.


Discharge was at two ports in Indonesia and both were carried out expediently with no issues observed. Some delays were experienced waiting for trucks to arrive. Remaining cattle on board were fed at normal schedules during discharge. All animals observed during discharge appeared to be healthy with no outward signs of injury.


The observer noted that the voyage was a well carried out with no mortalities. The vessel was well maintained and no issues detrimental to the welfare of the consignment were observed.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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