Replacement live export ship identified and set for inspection

A replacement vessel to transport vital live exports has been identified and is currently being inspected for suitability, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has confirmed.

It is understood that approval of the new vessel will be given over the next 10 days.

Pat McCormack, ICMSA president, had raised concerns about the possibility of a decrease in live calf exports – due to the ferry that regularly serves the Rosslare-Cherbourg route set to be out-of-action later this spring.

The vessel is scheduled to be in dry dock during a four-week period for refurbishment.

In response to today’s development, McCormack expressed appreciation of the “speedy efforts” by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to replace the ship being withdrawn. He also voiced his hopes that the new vessel will prove suitable.

We understand that the inspection process is stringent; but, we’re hopeful that the vessel will meet the standards required and we expect to have word within the next fortnight.

“The fact that they have responded so quickly to our concern is positive; and the fact that the replacement ship is of similar capacity to the ship being withdrawn is better still.

“We want no decrease in the live export numbers – particularly in the context of the numbers of calves expected over the next 12 weeks.

“In the absence of the long-awaited and long-overdue review of the beef grid; it’s absolutely vital that we have this capacity to get the maximum number of dairy calves to our markets,” he concluded.

February and March represent peak months for calf exports due to the dominance of spring-calving herds in Ireland.

The Stena Line ferry set to be docked is named the Stena Horizon. It operates up to three ferry crossings a week – with a journey duration of approximately 17 hours.

The vessel is capable of carrying almost 1,000 passengers and 200 cars, as well as approximately 130 freight units. The ferry – which is about 186m long – was built in 2006 and has a gross tonnage of over 27,500t.