Australian Government

investigates high mortalities aboard 7 SHIPS OF SHAME in 2002.

The 7 ships below, were all investigated by AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) due to the high mortality percentages of mainly sheep, cattle and a small number of deer and goats.

The dates along side the names indicate the dates of loading and final discharge. Note that there were four of these disasters all occurred early-mid July to mid-late August.

* Norvantes
Exporter: Austock Exports Pty Ltd
* This ship went to Jakarta , the rest went to the Middle East
not stated in report
Becrux (Cattle)
Becrux ( sheep)
Wellard Rural Export Pty Ltd
14/6/ 2002
14/6/ 2002
Al Shuwaikh
Exporter: *Rural Export and Trading Pty Ltd
Graeme Daws
(LiveCorp Director)
18/7/ 2002
Cormo Express ( sheep)
Exporter: Fares Rural Co. Pty Ltd
Corriedale Express
Exporter: *International Livestock Export Pty Ltd
Graeme Daws
Al Messilah
Exporter: *Rural Export and Trading Pty Ltd
Graeme Daws
Al Shuwaikh
Exporter: *Rural Export and Trading Pty Ltd
Graeme Daws

The reportable rate for sheep is above 2%, for cattle, 1%, as specified in the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Marine Order – Part 43 (Section 40).

The MV Becux was purported to be a "state of the art" livestock carrier purpose built to ship livestock in the 'best possible conditions'! This was its maiden voyage. Out of the 1977 cattle that were loaded at both Portland Victoria and Fremantle Perth Western Australia, 880 cattle died. This is 44.1% mortality figure. From 63413 sheep loaded, 1418 died on this same voyage. This figure is above the 2% acceptable level, at 2.03%, and so this investigation also covers the sheep mortalities.  

The exporter of the animals aboard the Al Messilah V.50, MV Al Shuwaikh V.20, and MV Al Shuwaikh V.21 was *Rural Export & Trading (WA) Ltd. One of the Directors is a Former Chairman of the Australian Exporters Council (ALEC), and former Chairman of the Livestock Exporter Assn) and is now on the boards of two other export companies; *International Livestock Export Pty Ltd and Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd. This same Director is the man behind the Al Khaleej August 2001 and Cormo Express August 2003 tragedies.

In January 2003, Rural Export & Trading (WA) Ltd had their export licence suspended after several shipments with unacceptably high fatality rates.  

The investigation of the MV Corriedale Express V.152 has revealed that the exporter of this shipment is none other than International Livestock Export Pty Ltd

For more information revealing the appalling conditions Australian animals suffered aboard these floating coffins, contained in these mortality reports please click on the ship names.

NOTE: The Keniry report said sanctions attached to an exporter's licence should apply to the export licence of other livestock export companies in which the directors or senior executives were involved.

The Death Files contain a list of all the ships and related animal mortalities over the last twenty years.

Mortality figures are often quite conflicting between the different governments departments responsible for reporting and gathering this information. This can be seen on the transcript of the first 60 minutes programme ( 27 July 2002 ) about the trade, where it was alleged that mortalities on board were falsified. As a result of that programme, on 30 July 2002 , Federal Minister Warren Truss instructed that AQIS ( Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) investigate the misreporting on this particular voyage.

An investigation report into cattle mortalities aboard the MV Novantes Voyage 83 , 8-19 February 2002, page 10 of 25 confirms that there is a conflict of interest by an AQIS accredited veterinarian, who sold his own cattle to an exporter after he inspected and treated them. Although another AQIS vet inspected the cattle on the day of loading, the question of the involvement of any AQIS vets having a financial interest in animals for export has not been addressed or resolved.

Below is an extract from the Novantes investigation.

The AQIS-accredited veterinarian inspected and treated cattle that were purchased from him by the exporter prior to assembly at the feedlot and therefore he could be seen to have a pecuniary interest in the outcome of their selection. This issue has not been addressed specifically in the AQIS Accreditation program, however the AVA has specific instructions in their Policy Compendium that “accredited veterinarians must not place themselves in positions of conflict of interest” and “they should withdraw from accredited duties where conflict of interest is possible eg. examining or certifying animals in which they have a financial interest”. A follow-up inspection by AQIS NT on the day of loading went some way to resolving the issue.

extracted from page 10 – 11 AFFA MV Novantes V83 mortality report

Below is an extract from the first 60 Minutes programme screened on 27 July 2002 …

RICHARD CARLETON: "In fact, LiveCorp claims the overall mortality rate is on the way down. But vet Tony Hill believes the industry-supplied figures are suspect. After his voyage on the Al-Khaleej (August 2001) where up to 2000 sheep died, routine had him report on the death toll.

You put in a report that said, and you signed it, saying that 105 sheep died on the voyage."

DR TONY HILL: "And that's the report the captain wanted me to give to the Saudis."

RICHARD CARLETON: "Where did this figure of 105 come from?"

DR TONY HILL: "He invented it."

*In 2000, we saw an entire shipment of deer perish during the short journey between Brisbane and Sydney. These deer were destined for Thailand . Source: Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Australia (AFFA) website, 27.09.02.

According to our informant, a former stockman, these deer "bashed themselves to death".

*Two shipments of cattle to Korea were rejected at their destination when local farmers believed the trade would threaten their local 'Hanwoo' cattle industry. Six cattle were beaten to death while the remainder had to be held in quarantine and on board ship until the Korean Government were able to move them to slaughter.

In May 2001, a suspension of further exports to South Korea was implemented.

*In April 2002, India quarantined 200 cattle due to alleged disease concerns under the industry-country protocol.

*September 2002, a consignment of goats to Korea was questionable when on goat arrived was diagnosed with blue tongue on arrival following a mix up on laboratory results and supporting documentation.

*September 2002, an exporter from Portland Australia , loaded 41 cattle deemed unfit for export to China . The whole shipment was halted and the trade was suspended.