A livestock ship carrying thousands of heifers from Chile to China has been forced back into international waters after it tried to enter Fiji claiming to be low on fuel, water and fodder reserves.
Media reports on the weekend said the Panama-flagged 8443 tonne cattle vessel Polaris 2 is shipping 7300 cattle, which are destined to be used to build up the Chinese dairy industry.
Fijian media outlets have reported that the ship tried to enter Suva but did not declare its cargo.
The reports said port authorities initially believed it was a routine port call, but when they discovered the ship was carrying cattle, the Fiji Navy was alerted.
The ship was then forced out to sea.
Fiji’s Island Business magazine said the Polaris 2’s master then issued a distress call, claiming he was low on fuel, water and food and needed to restock.
In another report a spokesperson for the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji said the Polaris 2 was prevented from entering Fijian waters because it did not have the proper transit permit.
BAF Executive Chairman, Xavier Riyaz Khan said the biosecurity risks associated with all cargo vessels are assessed before transit permits allowing entry to Fijian waters are granted.
Mr Khan said it was important to protect Fiji’s bio-diversity and prevent the spread of animal, plant pests and diseases that could be harmful to Fiji’s agricultural sector.
He highlighted that the MV Polaris’s application for a transit permit was denied because it lacked the necessary documentation pertaining to the livestock it was carrying including veterinary certifications and the disease status in the country of origin.
Khan added that the ship applied for a permit only three working days before it planned to enter Fijian waters which was not enough time for them to assess the risks associated with its shipment of livestock and to resolve the issues with its application.
He said there were more than 7200 cattle aboard the vessel which presented specific risks that they needed to assess thoroughly including assessment of the livestock, feed and bedding material.
Mr Khan stressed that the decision not to approve the transit permit for MV Polaris was unanimous amongst all stakeholders.
He said MV Polaris 2 issued distress signal on being low on fuel and food and they worked hand-in-hand with the Fijian Navy and Military to supply food, fuel and feed to the vessel.
Mr Khan highlighted that all necessary precautionary measures were taken including disinfecting the Navy patrol boat that travelled to the vessel and preventing the MV Polaris from discharging effluents into Fijian waters.
He added that the MV Polaris’s shipping agent has been fined for its non-compliance with Fijian Biosecurity Regulations and that they will take all necessary actions in such cases to protect Fiji’s best interests.
Another report stated that the Polaris 2 has since docked in Noumea.
The Cattle Site reported that the herd is Chile’s first effort at exporting live cattle to China.
While livestock exporters in Australia are required to comply with a strict regulatory framework designed to ensure the welfare of exported animals right through to the point of slaughter in foreign markets, most countries that export live animals are not held to similar regulatory requirements.
The Australian Livestock Exporters Council has told Beef Central the vessel in question is not accredited by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (does not hold an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock) and thus does not service the Australian livestock export trade.
There is a lot of reasons for and against live export, We as Australians are not Know for generational foresight, as we tend to go for the fast and easy path that seems to be the most profitable, a casual look at history however will soon show that this way lacks discernment and the foundation of long term wealth building, for our children’s children’s future, are we Buying farms, mines, companies and land in China ? or are we just SELLING, and who are we selling to Australians ?? our vast land and resources really are limited, there will come a time when and account will be made who owns who?
Animals suffer again.Irresponsible people should not be handling cattle.THE VERY REASON THERE SHOULD BE NO LIVE EXPORTS ANYWHERE.