Review launched into safety of livestock transport at sea following sinking tragedy

The Ministry of Primary Industries has launched an independent review into how safe the transportion of livestock by sea is.

Gulf Livestock 1 cargo vessel (file photo). Source: Associated Press

This comes after a ship that was carrying 43 crew members, including two New Zealanders, to China from New Zealand sunk off Japan last week.

The ship was transporting nearly 6000 cows.

The review is expected to take a month and will be headed by Mike Heron QC. He will be supported by retired Rear Admiral Tony Parr.

Ill-fated livestock carrier left Napier with '2 to 3 degree list' heading towards a typhoon - Maritime Union

“The current temporary suspension of cattle livestock exports will remain in place until the review report is completed and considered,” says MPI Director-General Ray Smith.

“This is an extremely difficult time for the families of those on the Gulf Livestock 1 and my thoughts are with them.

“At the heart of our decision to temporarily suspend cattle livestock exports is a commitment to helping ensure people and animals on livestock export boats are safe.

“We are working closely with exporters, who have provided assurances that animals currently on pre-export isolation farms are in good condition and well looked after.”

The review will assess the assurances MPI receives when it considers an application for an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) – required for exports of live animals – in particular: Carriage by sea as a mode of transport; Susceptibility of livestock to harm and distress on the journey when exported by ship.