Department of Agriculture urged to revoke licence for cattle ship

Ship had carried cattle from Ireland to Libya in July

The Department of Agriculture has been urged to revoke the licence of a livestock ship which has been detained in Cornwall for safety reasons after its engine failed earlier this month.

The MV Express 1 was bound for Ireland from Germany when it got into difficulty off the Cornish coast and it was towed into the port of Fowey.

It was licensed by the Department of Agriculture last February and its most recent trip from Ireland was in July when it carried a shipment of live cattle to Libya.

The Compassion in World Farming group said the department must immediately revoke the ship's approval to carry animals from Ireland.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that it had issued the detention notice after inspections by the agency and the Cornwall Port Health Authority.

“The detention was served for a number of safety, health and welfare issues, including concern over the crew’s emergency training, the fire detection systems and deficiencies in the crew accommodation with a lack of hot water and heating,” it said in a statement.

It said maintenance work was under way to ensure the ship met safety standards.

“The MCA will reinspect it once the maintenance work is complete.”

A spokeswoman for the department said Ireland’s animal transport rules were set higher than those that apply in other EU member states “and is recognised by the EU Commission as being amongst the most effective and stringent legislation in force as regards the welfare during transport of animals by sea”.

She said approval to transport animals was only given after detailed inspections by both a marine surveyor and a veterinary inspector from the department.

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times