Monday 19th Nov, 2018

Frustration at delays in MV Statesman cattle deaths case

FRUSTRATION is mounting at delays in resolving the case of the deaths of almost 60 cattle during and following a Bass Strait crossing in late January last year.

Some eight beasts on board the MV Statesman died during the voyage from Stanley to Port Welshpool with another 51 being destroyed by vets soon after their arrival in Victoria.

The animals apparently had been badly injured when the ship encountered rough seas.

The incident prompted condemnation from politicians and animal rights figures, with criticism directed at the decision to sail on the night in question.

But since then, no charges have followed.

This is despite the Tasmanian RSPCA releasing a statement in September 2016 saying an investigation into the matter had concluded.

“RSPCA Tasmania Inspectors have been assisting the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) with their investigation,” the statement read.

“DPIPWE has concluded its investigation and is preparing a report to go to the Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration.

“In the interim the MV Statesman continues to transport cattle across Bass Strait under strict animal welfare instructions from DPIPWE.”

But that was September.

The company responsible for MV Statesman is northern Tasmanian business L D Shipping and its proprietor Les Dick has maintained his company’s innocence, blaming the incident on freak waves.

But Mr Dick said he was as frustrated as anyone at the lack of a resolution.

“It was only (this week) that I rang them (DPIPWE) and asked them for a decision,” he told Lloyd’s List Australia.

“It is affecting my business and has left uncertainty for our clients.

“Either get on and charge us or come out and say that it was just an accident.”

Mr Dick said L D Shipping would defend any charges “with vigour”.

Comment has been sought from DPIPWE on this matter.

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