A livestock ship destined for Ireland was detained in Cornwall for safety reasons after its engine failed earlier this month, and according to the Department of Agriculture, the detention of the ship has had no impact on Ireland’s live exports. 

The MV Express 1 was bound for Ireland from Germany when it got into difficulty off the Cornish coast and it was towed into a nearby port.

According to the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, it issued the detention notice after inspections by the agency and the Cornwall Port Health Authority.

“The detention was served for a number of safety, health and welfare issues, including concern over the crew’s emergency training, the fire detection systems and deficiencies in the crew accommodation with a lack of hot water and heating,” it said in a statement to AgriLand.

It said maintenance work was under way to ensure the ship met safety standards. “The MCA will reinspect it once the maintenance work is complete.”

The Department of Agriculture issued a livestock licence in February 2013 to Naseem Al Bahar General Trading LLC Co, Dubai, United Arab Emirates for it to transport livestock on the MV Express 1.

Its most recent trip from Ireland was in July when it carried a shipment of live cattle to Libya.

A spokeswoman for the department said: “Ireland has a strict system of animal transport rules, and the current rules in relation to the approval of ships for livestock transport is set higher than those which apply in other EU member states, and is recognised by the EU Commission as being amongst the most effective and stringent legislation in force as regards the welfare during transport of animals by sea.”

She stressed that detailed inspections by both a Marine Surveyor and a Department Veterinary Inspector are required before approval is given to ships transporting animals from Ireland.

“These inspections concern the welfare of the animals on board and take place within the boundaries of our Animal Welfare legislation, principally the Disease of Animals (Carriage of Cattle by Sea) Order (SI No 17 of 1996). In addition any approved livestock ship wishing to load livestock in Ireland has to pass a preloading inspection, focussed on animal welfare, carried out by this department before the loading  process is allowed to proceed,” it noted.

According to the spokeswoman, matters falling outside of animal welfare legislation are for Port State Control and are not within the remit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

She also stressed the detention of the MV Express 1 has had no impact on Ireland’s live exports.

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