The cattle carrier Al Kuwait, pictured anchored off the coast of Timaru on February 6, is still at sea awaiting mooring instructions from PrimePort Timaru.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

The cattle carrier Al Kuwait, pictured anchored off the coast of Timaru on February 6, is still at sea awaiting mooring instructions from PrimePort Timaru.

A cattle transport vessel continues to be anchored at sea several miles off the coast of Timaru awaiting docking instructions to be able to load up to 6,748 live cattle bound for China.

The 189.5-meter purpose-built cattle carrier, the Al Kuwait, arrived off Timaru on Sunday with the Ministry of Primary Industries saying the vessel will dock “subject to guidance from the port of Timaru” when the animals will be ready to be loaded.

“The cattle are in the final stages of isolation checks before export and will be loaded as soon as the ship is docked. It is also subject to Timaru Port berth and berth allocation instructions.

“We expect loading to begin tomorrow, February 9, after all animals have been assessed by MPI veterinarians,” MPI said Tuesday.

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“The Al Kuwait is likely to leave Timaru on February 12 – but it is important to note that the vessel will not be loaded until MPI has assessed all animal welfare requirements, and the vessel’s departure will not have take place only after MPI has verified compliance. and issued an export certificate for animal welfare.”

Berths are also in demand at the port with the two main anchorages occupied by the container ship Maersk Nansha and the fertilizer carrier Andrea Enterprise until at least Wednesday.

Prime Port chief executive Phil Melhopt would only say that ‘operational reasons’ could be the reason the ship has yet to dock.

The MPI said 43,669 head of cattle were exported through Timaru in 2021, more than double the 2019 total and more than 12,000 more than in 2020. Previously released figures show that total cattle exports of Timaru was 31,362 in 2020; 20,044 in 2019; 7349 in 2018; 3068 in 2017; 13,124 in 2016; 4394 in 2015.

Mansel and Gaylene Smith protest live cattle exports in central Timaru on February 6, 2022.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Mansel and Gaylene Smith protest live cattle exports in central Timaru on February 6, 2022.

A protest was held for the return of the ship at noon on Sunday at the corner of Stafford and Strathallan streets following a protest against the ship’s visit in August 2021. This was the seventh protest since November 2020 against the export of live cattle.

Protest organizer Lyn Mansel said the reason for the protest remained the ramping up of live cattle exports before it was banned in April 2023 and the number of ships currently passing through.

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