Report 171: MV Shorthorn Express - Cattle exported to Indonesia in August 2019

Cattle exported to Indonesia in August 2019


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Voyage summary

A consignment of 2,987 cattle was loaded on the MV Shorthorn Express at the Port of Darwin between 9 and 10 August 2019. The vessel departed on 10 August 2019. The vessel discharged the cattle at the Port of Jakarta, Indonesia between 14 and 15 August 2019 making this a 6 day voyage.

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

There were no mortalities during the voyage.

The following comments represent a summary of key observations from the observer and have been approved by 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.


The observer reported overcrowding in some pens especially on decks 4 and 5 that was in excess of the vessel space capacity according to the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 2011 (version 2.3) (ASEL) requirements. On departure from Darwin, the cattle were adjusted over the next 2 days and some placed in a vacant hospital pen to give more space. The observer noted the cattle had access to feed and water as necessary and that no animal welfare concerns were observed due to overcrowding.

Sawdust was laid on ramps and loading areas. During loading, no observations were made that adversely impacted on the health and welfare of the livestock. However, the stockperson noted a few minor incidents of cattle piling down the ramps, and due to the design of the vessel, some cattle received knocked hips on corners at loading.


The experienced LiveCorp Accredited stockperson (stockperson) on-board the vessel was responsible for implementing the exporters’ procedures to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock throughout the voyage.

The master had overall responsibility for the vessel, cargo and all personnel.

The Stockperson and all crew performed their duties appropriately and there were no concerns with the welfare of the animals during the voyage.

Daily routine

The daily shifts were undertaken from 7:00am until 12:30pm followed by 3:30pm until 5:00pm. The cattle were fed three times per day with an additional feed given on day 3. After each feed, the crew ensured the automatic nose bowls were filled to help the cattle become accustomed to using them.

A management meeting was held each day at 10:00am and was attended by the stockperson Chief Officer (CO), bosun and the observer. At the meeting, the stockperson advised the bosun and CO of the feeding regime for the day. The bosun subsequently advised the crew. The daily reports were generated after the meeting.

Night shift began at 6:00pm and finished at 6:00am and were split in two shifts with two persons per shift.  The night crew duties included water supervision of nose bowls, picking up fodder troughs if off the rails, monitoring the welfare of animals and reporting issues to the stockperson as required.

Feed and water

Pelleted fodder was stored in four silos and was delivered to chutes on each deck. The crew manually filled the fodder troughs that hung on the outside of the pen rails. The cattle were fed three times per day with an additional feed given on day 3. The cattle had adequate access to fodder.

Water was generated using a reverse osmosis units. Fresh water was supplied to the cattle by automatic nose bowls located in the corners of the pens. From day 3, water availability from the nose bowls was supplemented by the crew manually filling an additional trough of water for each pen. Water was always accessible by the cattle.


The ventilation system worked well on the voyage and consisted of four intakes and four exhausts. The air supply was directed into pens from large overhead pipes. The observer reported there were some hot spots on the vessel but there were no symptoms of heat stress observed.

Temperatures were recorded prior to the daily meeting using a hand held whirling hygrometer. The temperatures were recorded on three different points on each deck and the conditions were relatively consistent throughout the voyage at 28.7 – 30.7°C dry bulb, 25.3 – 27.7°C wet bulb and    77 – 78% humidity.

Pen conditions

No bedding was laid in the pens before loading. Pens were slightly wet for a few days and then started to dry out. No washing of the pens was undertaken due to the short duration of the voyage. No issues with the pad condition were noted.

Health and welfare

The observer reported there were no major animal welfare issues noted during the voyage. One animal was moved to a hospital pen and given treatment. Two other cattle were moved to a hospital pen for lameness but were not treated. All were successfully discharged in Indonesia. There were no mortalities during the voyage.


The discharge went smoothly and no animal welfare issues were noted.


The exporter arrangements were observed to be implemented during the voyage and to be compliant with ASEL requirements with the exception of the number of cattle loaded on the vessel.

Last reviewed: 23 January 2020
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