Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The ‘Sarah M’, which was due to sail from Belview to Algeria by the end of this week. 

The rescheduled sailing of the ‘Sarah M’ from the Port of Waterford to Algeria this Friday has been cancelled by exporter Roundwood Park Livestock Limited and Premium Livestock.

In a statement issued earlier today, the Wicklow-based company said it had not secured the 1,200 to 1,300 bulls and bullocks it required to sail to North Africa and “has now made arrangements to make the shipment from France”. Shipping French animals will consolidate Roundwood Park’s contract and it’s understood that the prospect of future loadings via Belview this summer remains possible.

The exporter’s statement claimed that up to 700 of the livestock which had been secured from three suppliers “have been locked down” due to “suspect lesions identified at the factory of animals slaughtered last week”.

This has created “an insurmountable obstacle” in terms of loading the numbers required to make the sailing from Ireland, coinciding as it did with the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan in Algeria, which concludes on Saturday next, May 23. The ‘Sarah M’ remains anchored in the Waterford Estuary off Dunmore East.

According to Roundwood Park Livestock Director, Dr Ahmad Salman: “It was with great regret this decision had to be taken; but the circumstances which unfolded this week rendered the shipment impossible from Ireland, due to the obvious difficulty in securing qualifying replacement stock at such short notice.

“It is all the more regrettable having regard to the efforts of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, some of his fellow TDs, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and department officials in taking significant steps and working together to reduce the difficulties to protect this new market for Irish beef.”

Today’s development was in stark contrast to the statement issued on Sunday last, which declared the shipping of Irish livestock, initially meant to depart from Belview on Friday last, May 15, would go ahead later this week.

The originally planned departure was stymied due to a difficulty with cattle not being administered a wormer at their farm of origin prior to transit which would have fulfilled the required withdrawal period prior to the livestock’s slaughter in Algeria.

On Sunday last, Emerald Isle Beef Producers stated: “the recent technical difficulties regarding the shipment of cattle to Algeria have now been ironed out”.

So while the ‘Sarah M’ will indeed sail to Algeria with a full load of bulls and bullocks, its consignment shall be sourced from French markets – if the requisite number of animals can be secured, that is.

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