New Zealand ends livestock exports by sea

New Zealand has completed its two-year phase out of livestock exports. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor confirmed the departure of the final livestock-carrying vessel, the 29-years-old, Panama-flagged, 7,285 dwt Dareen (IMO 9074913), operated by Mira Shipping out of Dubai. Registered in Panama.

The phase-out of the business, which was reported to be valued at US$325m in 2022, was in response to ongoing protests by animal rights activities, reports of poor conditions on the ships, and several high-profile losses of ships resulting in the death of the crew and the animals. New Zealand’s interim restrictions put in place in 2021 limited the Dareen to 90% density and required it to have a 20% feed reserve in case of delays or other problems during the voyage.

The Dareen had arrived in Timaru on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, on April 18th.

The 6,090 cattle were trucked from a farm and loaded aboard the vessel, which left port shortly before 06:00 local time on April 20th, heading for Huanghua, China, ETA May 9th.

The official ban on live exports begins on April 30th, but the Agriculture Ministry confirmed that no additional export licenses had been issued after the Dareen.

The ministry said the two-year transition period had been set to provide farmers time to adjust their business and adapt to the limits. The Minister noted that others countries were following New Zealand’s example, noting that that Australia had also moved to phase-out live export of sheep.

“Since 2015, live exports by sea have represented only 0.32 percent of primary sector export revenue. Whilst we acknowledge the economic benefits for some farmers, we also have to protect the international reputation of our annual NZ$53 billion (US$32.5 billion) primary export industry,” said O’Connor. “This is why we initiated the review in 2019 and subsequently made the decision to cease live exports by sea by the end of April 202M3.”

New Zealand had imposed a temporary moratorium and subsequently set restrictions on the trade after the September 2020 loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 carrier, which sank in a storm off, Japan killing 41 crewmembers and some 6,000 head of cattle. Only two crewmembers survived.

1994-built, Panama-flagged, 12,959 gt Dareen is owned by Reestborg Compania naviera SA care of Arab Ship management Ltd (ASM) of Amman, Jordan. Latest AIS has the vessel en route from Timaru, New Zealand to Huahghua, China, ETA May 8th.