Wellard rises from ashes
Livestock exporter Wellard expects it will cost up to $10 million to fix its fire-damaged livestock ship.
But crucially, the company does not expect to lose its contracts despite the setback.
Wellard managing director Mauro Balzarini said he didn't expect the repair bill to be more than 10 per cent of the $80 million to $100 million it would cost to replace the vessel entirely.
The fire aboard MV Ocean Drover, the world's biggest purpose-built livestock carrier, was put out late last Thursday, more than 12 hours after it started.
The 180m vessel can carry 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle.
A crew member who was seriously injured when he tried to put out the blaze remained in Fremantle. Hospital yesterday in a stable condition.
Other crew members are being accommodated in Fremantle.
The rest of the 47 overseas-based crew suffered differing degrees of smoke inhalation injuries, but were given the all-clear by medical crews.
No animals were on board at the time of the incident.
Mr Balzarini said fire, police and Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigations had been finalised yesterday, however details were still to be released.
Police said the fire was "deemed non-suspicious", but Wellard said it would remain "open-minded" about possible causes of the fire until the results of the investigation were completed.
"The insurance company will definitely be paying 100 per cent for the damage," Mr Balzarini said.
Mr Balzarini also said his company was not at risk of commercial disadvantage as a result of the incident.
"We're not at risk of losing the contract to Indonesia over this," he said. "This year's cattle quota has only begun and the Indonesians are looking for around 250,000 head, so there is plenty of demand."
Industry commentators say one of the options that may be open to Wellard is to buy cattle in Darwin to cover for the Fremantle consignment and then the stranded Fremantle cattle could be collected on the Indonesian-bound ship's return.
Mr Balzarini said he had not decided where the MV Ocean Drover would be repaired, but also said a shipyard in Henderson could be an option.
"We hope to have the ship back in operations in around two to three months." he said. "This incident will have no bearing of our overall strategy or plans."
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