On 22 November, the Panamanian-flagged livestock carrier 'Jawan' was detained by Australian maritime authorities as the ship was seen rolling heavily from side to side, after her departure from the Port of Portland. The vessel, which was originally designed to carry cargo before being converted for live export purposes, was carrying 4,327 cows that were not injured, but concerns were raised about its seaworthiness.

Following these events, the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council has strongly endorsed a full investigation into the circumstances which led to 4,327 dairy heifers being unloaded from the vessel at Portland this week.

ALEC CEO Brett Pointing said ALEC would support a review by industry regulators, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, into the factors which prevented the MV Jawan from sailing from Portland in Victoria on its planned journey to Pakistan and Oman.

Exporters were shocked by the images showing the way the vessel was listing. As the authorities get to the bottom of this, we are 100 per cent behind them because what we saw was unacceptable.

Mr. Pointing said.

Shortly after the departure of the MV Jawan from the Port of Portland on November 22, the pilot aboard directed the vessel back to berth due to stability concerns. The vessel returned to its departure point and AMSA commenced an investigation into its seaworthiness.

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The stability issues could not be resolved and AMSA confirmed on Tuesday the vessel would not be cleared to sail with livestock on board, thus requiring the cattle to be unloaded under the supervision of DAWR and returned to a nearby export quarantine property. Unloading was completed on Wednesday and the vessel departed the Port of Portland late Thursday’s afternoon.

The MV Jawan is an AMSA-accredited vessel and has serviced Australia’s livestock export trade for many years, especially markets in South East Asia. The company responsible for the shipment, Perth-based Atlas Exports, is one of the very few licensed Australian livestock exporters which is not a member of ALEC.