UK (England): Live Exports Update Latest News – 20th March 2013.


UK Live Exports Update – 20/03/2013:

Please see our post of 18th March (link as follows) for an overview of events leading to this report.

Latest – Tuesday 19th March 2013 –

Today the MV Joline owned by the consortium of Johannes Onderwater, Tom Lomas and Peter Ziolkowski arrived at Dover at 11-30am to start her berthing trials prior to returning to this port after protestors have made events too hot for her at Ramsgate.

If she does return to Dover, we view this as a victory that through perseverance we have stopped her using Ramsgate, as the stringent tests and inspections she is facing at that port makes the trade less profitable even though her berthing fees are less than a third what they will be at Dover.

The ship took nearly two hours of manoeuvring before she could get onto berth No. five within Dover harbour, time we very much doubt she will have / be given by the port authorities when in operational mode.  She then attempted berth No. two, with even less success. It was later revealed that the trials were inconclusive and more modifications would be needed on the Joline before further tests could be carried out.

Joline Dover 19 March 2013

The ‘Joline’ arrives at Dover for berthing trials (Photo: KAALE)

This was in good weather with light winds, no swell and a rising tide in the harbour. The large and regular cross-Channel ferries (UK-France and return) were also affording her courtesy by producing only minimum wash as they entered and exited the port; usually their wash is much higher as they put on speed to exit the harbour because of their fast turnarounds.

After the tests we thought she was to lay over until Wednesday (20th) on the Eastern Arm in the harbour; but a contact advised us that she had asked to stopover, but when told the price, she decided to move out of Dover port. She proceeded to Ramsgate harbour where we understand she is to lay off until Friday (22nd) morning, when they intend to sail with live animals to Calais. The sailing is scheduled between 7.30am and 11.00am, but as we all know they can change their mind and we will update everyone should events change.

Joline off Ramsgate 19 March 2013

The Joline heads to Ramsgate after leaving Dover (Photo: KAALE)

We thought she would look very different after her modifications in the Netherlands, but the only differences we could visibly see were rubber bumpers round the entire vessel and ropes to grasp if personnel fall overboard.  We understand she has also had fitted a bow thruster to make her more manoeuvrable.

The High Court has granted the RSPCA an oral hearing for its legal challenge to ban live animal exports from Ramsgate.

The hearing will be held in open court at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 10 May. This has now been scheduled for earlier and has started today – Wed 20th March.  In January, a judge refused the RSPCA permission to bring the case to a judicial Review following consideration of court papers. But the charity appealed the decision and has won the right to an oral hearing, which could result in a full judicial review.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “We remain confident in the strength of our case and that we can persuade the court to grant permission for a full hearing”.  “Our challenge to the legality of the arrangements which Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) have put in place to regulate this trade deserves to be heard at a full hearing as the implications for animal welfare are very serious.” The RSPCA believes the AHVLA, which is responsible for checking consignments of live animals operating through Ramsgate port, is “acting illegally”. The charity has accused the AHVLA of failing to impose sailing restrictions on the Joline – which it described as an “open-decked, flat-bottomed converted Russian tank transporter” – to ensure that animals were “not injured or caused undue harm while being transported by sea”.

The RSPCA has established a fighting fund to help pay for the legal costs for the case. The fund has in a matter of just a few months received over £160,000 in donations to date. The AHVLA said it would not be commenting on the case while legal proceedings were still active. In December, UK farm minister David Heath announced new, tougher rules for live animal exports from Ramsgate port. AHVLA inspectors have been told to increase inspections and take a “zero tolerance” approach to any breaches of welfare regulations where unnecessary suffering is caused to animals.

Up until now the AHVLA have only inspected around 1 in 3 of all livestock transporters arriving at the port.  Whilst not the official ‘competent authority’, the RSPCA inspectors have inspected every truck and its animal cargo, finding many breaches of regulations.  The RSPCA have done a much better job of inspections than the government inspectors at AHVLA.

Charges following sheep deaths (at Ramsgate)

3 men and a firm are to face charges following the deaths of 47 sheep at Ramsgate.  3 sheep drowned and 44 were destroyed during an incident at the port on 12 Sept 2012.

Roche truck

Roche unloading

Roche holding facility in port

The men, based in the UK and France, and a Kent firm are accused of loading sheep which were unfit to travel and transporting them in an inappropriate vehicle.

All defendants are due to appear before Canterbury magistrates (in Kent, England) on 2 April. The maximum punishment, if convicted, is 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a £5,000 fine.

The Farming Minister David Heath announced that every future consignment of live animals that passed through Ramsgate would be inspected (and not just 1 in 3 as has been done up until now). He said there would be tougher enforcement of welfare procedures following a review by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). The AHVLA also plans to make sure a vet is within an hour of the port and has vowed to work with transport operators on new emergency contingency measures.

Vita KAALE Logo 9 9 2011

VITA Photo

Please visit the Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE) web site, for which SAV founder Mark is also the EU and legal correspondent, at 


Joline.1 resize

The Joline loaded with animal transporters crosses the English Channel in heavy sea conditions (Photos: KAALE)

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