Wellard’s vessel the M/V Ocean Shearer is the largest purpose-built livestock-carrying ship in the world. This week, the boat successfully passed inspection by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and has duly been granted an interim Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock. Wellard said it was customary for interim certificates to be issued before AMSA issues the final export licence.
Wellard acquired the M/V Ocean Shearer, dubbed the 'floating farm', on 28 April 2016, but the boat has been operating out of South America, transporting cattle as part of Wellard's supply diversification strategy.
The interim certificate means the vessel has been approved to transport Australian livestock to the 19 countries across Asia, South America, the Middle East and Europe that import Wellard’s live animals.
It was because Wellard's ship was operating out of South America that it did not have a license. In Australia, businsses can obtain an ACCL at the first Australian port call, not beforeard.
Animal welfare standards raised
The ship has been operational for a few months, yet Wellard CEO Mauro Balzarini said the M/V Ocean Shearer had significantly improved animal welfare on the massive voyages by sea. Aspects like better ventilation and optimised on-ship fresh water production methods helped to improve the conditions for the live animals during the journeys.
“The inclusion of the M/V Ocean Shearer into our fleet also ensures we continue to operate one of the youngest livestock fleets in the world and one of the largest Australian Maritime Safety Authority-approved fleets in the live export sector,” Balzarini said.
The vessel boasts roughly a 23,500sq m floor space, so it can transport either 20,000 live cattle or 75,000 sheep, or a combination of the two. It can also travel close to 18,000 miles by sea without stopping for fuel, making it an efficient carrier of live meat-producing animals.
Earlier in October, Wellard posted a gross profit of AU$88.9m, but said revenues had taken a hit from bad weather and tough trading in Asia.