WELLARD showcased the live trade industry last week when about 4500 head of cattle were loaded aboard the Ocean Swagman at Fremantle Port, as the company prepared to send them on an eight day voyage to Vietnam.
Wellard held guided tours of the vessel, which included a group of veterinarian students from the Murdoch University Vet School, to provide them with a better understanding of what it looked like and how things were done on board so that they understood the trade if they ever worked on a vessel in the future.
A film crew was also on site when Farm Weekly arrived, to document the loading and livestock while they settled into their pens on the seven deck carrier.
The ship’s master was also reluctantly filmed at work, highlighting some of the ship’s modern operation systems.
There was a mix of breeds with about 300 heifers weighing an average of 280 kilograms, and steers and bulls ranging from 300kg to more than 500kg.
They were transported from a quarantine depot three hours north of Perth, on more than 50 road trains, and were sourced from across the State, including the Pilbara and South West.
Wellard doesn’t normally send breeders to Vietnam, but a new client requested some for a new program.
Some of the consignment would be fed for up to 100 days in a feedlot before slaughter, while the larger cattle were likely to be processed a few days after arriving.
The Ocean Swagman is a multi-species carrier that has clocked up more than 100 voyages.
It has the capacity to transport 6000 cattle or 25,000 sheep, or a combination of both, with internal stock gates that can be flipped over to cater for either cattle or sheep, depending on the requirements of the charterer or their own markets.
The vessel has a 34-member crew made up of Croatians and Filipinos, as well as Australians.
The Ocean Swagman can travel at a speed of 17 knots and is 130 metres in length and 21.6m wide.
From keel to mast the height measures 24 metres and it has a livestock area of 8000m2.
To maintain their weight during the voyage the cattle need to eat 10kg of pellets each and drink 30 litres of water per day.
The Ocean Swagman holds a fresh water capacity of two million litres (almost the equivalent of an Olympic sized swimming pool) and a system that can produce 320,000L of fresh water per day from four reverse osmosis desalination plants.
The vessel has a fodder capacity of 1500 tonnes in two tanks and was loaded with pellets from the Wellard Feeds, Wongan Hills depot.