Maiden voyage for livestock carrier

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
MV Yangtze Harmony, loaded with 12,500 sheep, prepares to depart Fremantle on Sunday for its maiden voyage to the Arabian Gulf.
Camera IconMV Yangtze Harmony, loaded with 12,500 sheep, prepares to depart Fremantle on Sunday for its maiden voyage to the Arabian Gulf.

A new livestock ship has left Fremantle with 12,500 sheep bound for the Middle East.

The first of two ships built by Chinese consortium Sinomarine Livestock Shipping Company departed on the weekend with a “soft load” of animals to be delivered to Omar in the Arabian Gulf.

The ship, which will have capacity for up to 5500 cattle and 18,000 sheep, was manned by two consortium representatives and technical staff to check for faults on its maiden voyage.

Countryman broke the news in February that the three-company joint venture from Dalian in China was building the $US25 million ($33 million) vessels that will service ports in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

On Sunday bulk carrier MV Yangtze Harmony was officially put into service, with plans on track to have its sister-ship MV Yangtze Fortune begin operations in July.

WA-based Harmony Agriculture and Food Company, which assists with the commercial operation of the vessels, said the Yangtze Harmony was not loaded to its sheep capacity for its first commercial voyage.

“The ship has passed all regulatory inspections and surveys, with only a few minor things needing to be rectified,” HAFC director Steve Meerwald said.

“We chose to trial the vessel with sheep because they are less complicated to transport than cattle for the crew and service staff to manage.”

Mr Meerwald said the boat would be returning to reload with cattle for the Southeast Asian market in about a month’s time.

“WA’s north has had a big wet season and is therefore difficult to determine the availability of numbers from there for that shipment, so it is more than likely the the cattle will be loaded somewhere else,” he said

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