Report 87: MV Greyman Express - Cattle exported to Vietnam in February 2019
Cattle exported to Vietnam in February 2019
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A consignment of 2,714 cattle were loaded onto the MV Greyman Express in Darwin on 27 February 2019. The vessel departed on the evening of 27 February 2019. The cattle were discharged at Hai Phong, Vietnam between 7 and 8 March 2019, making this a 10 day voyage.
An Independent Observer (observer) boarded the vessel in Darwin and remained on board until completion of discharge.
The mortality rate for cattle was 0.07% (2 mortalities). This does not exceed the reportable mortality rate. The causes of these mortalities were not considered to be linked to any systemic failure by the exporter.
The following comments represent a summary of key observations and has been approved by the observer who accompanied the voyage.
Independent Observations of the implementation of procedures to ensure health and welfare of livestock
Exporter arrangements were available to address procedures relating to livestock management from loading through to discharge and contingencies.
The observer was not present for the loading process in Darwin but noted that the initial pen distribution and load plan showed only a few pens that appeared to have stocking densities that were tight. The pen densities were rectified the next morning.
The LiveCorp Accredited Stockperson (stockperson) had over 10 years’ experience on livestock vessels. The crew, stock handlers and stockpersons handled the cattle in a calm manner and worked in accordance with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (Version 2.3) 2011 (ASEL) requirements.
Two management meetings were held each day with the first meeting commencing at 7:00am and attended by the master, crew and stock handlers. The second management meeting was held at 10:00am, attended by the stockperson, Chief Officer (CO) and head stock handler, to discuss the daily report and the feeding schedules.
Feed and water
The observer noted the cattle appeared to settle in quickly from day 2. The cattle were fed four times per day. The cattle pens had automatically filling nose troughs. Some larger cattle did not appear to be using the nose troughs so the stockperson organised for one large trough per pen to be manually filled with water to supplement the water availability.
Some of the nose trough guard barriers either broke or the cattle lifted the guards out of the socket and became a potential hazard if they remained in the pens. Where the barriers were an issue they were removed.
No issues were noted with feeding or water supply to the cattle.
The ventilation system maintained a constant cool air flow, temperature and humidity. The observer noted that on days 3 and 4, from midday until 3:00pm on Decks 4 and 5, a small number of cattle showed an increased respiratory rate due to the nearby engine room and radiant heat from the sun on that side of the vessel. From 3:00pm the cattle appeared comfortable with normal respiratory rate.
Temperature recordings were taken at 11:30am each day. The average daily maximum temperature was 31°C and 80% humidity.
Pens were not washed because of the short duration of the voyage. The observer noted that from day 5 onwards, if pens had a moist pad build up, that they were cleaned regularly. Several wetter pens required maintenance using sawdust to assist in drying out the pad.
Health and welfare
There were 2 mortalities during the voyage. The first mortality occurred on the first day of the voyage with pneumonia the likely cause.
Around 12 cattle were identified and treated for lameness early in the voyage. Eleven of the cattle were isolated in the hospital pens and responded to treatment. The remaining animal was euthanised by the stockperson as it had not recovered sufficiently to be discharged.
Early in the voyage, one line of cattle on Deck 4 had several cases of pink eye. The cattle were treated and no ongoing issues were noted. Several cattle were treated for potential pneumonia with all showing no further symptoms for the remainder of the voyage. One further animal was treated for an infected penetration wound.
The cattle were discharged efficiently and quietly with all animals treated humanely. No issues were noted.
Overall, the voyage was completed incident free with the majority of the cattle settling in quickly, eating and drinking from day 2.
The crew and stockpersons worked well together to maintain animal health, pen cleanliness and food and water quality.
The exporter arrangements were observed to be implemented during the voyage and to be compliant with the ASEL requirements.