SHARE
Lit up...The livestock carrier Ocean Drover moves out of PrimePort Timaru on Sunday to anchor offshore. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

One of the world’s largest livestock carriers, the Ocean Drover, arrived at PrimePort Timaru on Saturday to load 14,000 dairy and beef cattle.

On Sunday evening the carrier left the harbour and anchored off the coast.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said the carrier would remain in Timaru for several days loading the cattle before departing for China.

“No export of live animals can proceed until we have conducted a post-loading review to ensure we are completely satisfied with the conditions on board,” MPI said.

“We introduced strengthened requirements last year which state that exporters are required to provide a report on the condition of the animals at 30 days after their arrival at their destination.”

This year, two other live shipments of cattle to China have been made from Timaru.

In February, the Gelbray Express carried 3520 cattle, with one death on the way.

In March, the Gudali Express carried 3307 cattle, also with one death, MPI statistics said.

Up to the Ocean Drover‘s arrival, a total of five livestock shipments have been made from New Zealand ports to China this year, totalling 18,353 cattle with eight deaths.

Meanwhile, the Sanford fishing vessel San Aotea II berthed in PrimePort Timaru on Tuesday morning after sailing from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, a company spokeswoman said.

The vessel arrived in Timaru on Friday morning and had been anchored offshore.

Those on board were tested for Covid-19. They were due to disembark last Tuesday.

The vessel sailed from Timaru to Port Stanley in June to bring 15 crew members from another company fishing vessel, the San Aspiring, back to New Zealand.

Three Sanford fishing crew members remained in Port Stanley after a bar altercation during their stay in the port. They have appeared in court and remain detained there.

The San Aotea II is scheduled to leave Timaru on August 9.