Stena Line still awaiting approval to carry calves for live export

Stena Line is still awaiting approval to carry animals for live export on the vessel that is set to replace the Stena Horizon.

As previously reported by AgriLand in recent weeks, Stena Line confirmed that it has chartered a vessel as a temporary replacement ship for the Stena Horizon during its planned maintenance.

However, meeting the necessary requirements to carry live export trucks on the replacement vessel has proved challenging.

Also Read: Fulfilling requirements hasn’t been ‘plain sailing’ for live export ship

The ferry company confirmed to AgriLand that the temporary replacement ship will start on February 20 for a period of approximately four weeks, while the Stena Horizon is in dry dock.

A spokesperson for the company continued: “Stena Line is currently working with the owners to obtain the necessary statutory vessel certifications for this highly specialist trade.

“The criteria for carriage is – naturally and correctly – extremely detailed in relation to key welfare issues such as stability, movement, ventilation etc.

As yet, we have not been able to fulfil these requirements; but, we are working hard to find a suitable solution.

‘Full live export capacity must be maintained’

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Joe Healy, is confident that a suitable replacement ferry will be in place to carry calves for live export prior to the scheduled maintenance of the Stena Horizon.

He explained that a new suitable vessel is being inspected and is expected to pass.

The critical issue is that there must be no change in our ferry capacity to export calves during this critical period for farmers and exporters.

A previous ferry put forward by Stena Line was inspected by officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; but, it was not suitable, Healy said.

Meanwhile, the IFA’s National Livestock Committee chairman, Angus Woods, believes farmers need to see a “significant increase in calf exports” this year.

“With the increase in the dairy cow numbers and strong market demand in both Holland and Spain, there is major potential for the trade,” he said.

Commenting on the recent trade mission to Turkey, Woods added: “Turkey has real potential to become a major market for Irish live cattle exports. IFA visited Turkey late last year and it was clear the market has potential to take up to 100,000 head of cattle from Ireland.”