The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) has recently made a move to improve working conditions in the country’s live sheep trade.
Namely, the council agreed to guarantee that ships taking their Australian cargo to foreign markets have either a national collective agreement or an International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) agreement ensuring the rights and conditions for crews on flag of convenience (FoC) ships.
“This is a progressive move. The council has committed to the human element of the industry and has accepted their responsibility to the working men and women on board livestock carriers,” Dean Summers, Australian ITF Coordinator, said.
The council’s decision comes after a three-month moratorium on sheep shipments to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer from June 1, 2019, prompted by horrendous conditions in which live animals are transported.
A video released earlier in 2018, that showed hundreds of sheep on the brink of life and dying in extreme heat, forced the Australian government to announce a review of the regulator and a crackdown on illegal practices.
At the beginning of December, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) revoked the carriage certificate for Panama-flagged livestock carrier, MV Jawan, due to unreliability of the vessel’s approved stability data when it is loaded.
“When moved from berth, the ship demonstrated a motion that suggested the ship lacked stability. The master of the vessel requested the vessel be returned to the berth. The attending AMSA Marine Surveyor boarded the vessel as soon as it was secured,” AMSA said.
AMSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mick Kinley, said that revoking the Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL) was considered the only option given the circumstances.
Two weeks prior to its certificate being revoked, the vessel was ordered to offload thousands of cattle at Portland because the ship experienced violent rocking from side to side while sailing.