5/2018—Pre-loading cargo information for livestock vessels

This marine notice is to remind livestock shippers, vessel owners and operators, and the masters of livestock vessels of their obligations to provide and use accurate information in the calculation of vessel stability.

Recent events have clearly identified the serious risk when stability of a vessel is inadequately calculated, in particular the potential for a loss of stability and subsequent risk of capsize.


Section 11(1) of Marine Order 43 (Cargo and cargo handling—livestock) 2018 (Marine Order 43) requires the master of a livestock vessel to ensure the vessel complies with the Intact Stability Code and the criteria in Schedule 1 of this Order at all stages of the voyage and during loading of the vessel.

To ensure the master is provided with the appropriate information to calculate the stability of the vessel, Section 13(2) of Marine Order 43 requires the person (the shipper) provide accurate details of the number, weight, and kind of livestock to be loaded on to a vessel. Failure to do so is an offence.

Furthermore, Regulation 2 of Chapter VI of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) requires a shipper to provide the master with ‘appropriate information on the cargo, sufficiently in advance of loading, to enable precautions which may be necessary for proper stowage and safe carriage of the cargo to be put into effect’.

These requirements are adopted through Marine Order 42 (Carriage, stowage and securing of cargoes and containers) and compliance means the ‘proper precautions’ that a master must take includes the development of a detailed load plan for the vessel.

A shipper must not provide average livestock weights across the entire load, as this does not provide the master with sufficient information to appropriately calculate the vessel’s stability.

The information provided by the shipper must be sufficient to allow the master to create a detailed deck-by-deck load plan addressing animal type, weight, and number in order to assess compliance with Part A of the Intact Stability Code and Schedule 1 of Marine Order 43.

AMSA Pre-load inspections

During pre-load inspections, AMSA inspectors will confirm that the information provided to the master prior to loading enables the master to produce:

  • a detailed deck-by-deck load plan addressing animal type, weight, and number of animals, and
  • a stability calculation that shows that the vessel will comply with the relevant stability requirements throughout the entire voyage.

These measures are necessary to accurately calculate the vessel’s stability and to comply with Section 11(1) of Marine Order 43.

If such information has not been provided— and/or the master cannot produce the plan or calculations—loading of livestock will be prohibited under Section 17 of Marine Order 43 until the requirements are met.

It should be noted that a person may be liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes Sections 11(1) or 13(2) of the Order.

Download Pre-loading cargo information for livestock vessels—marine notice 2018/5 (PDF 334 KB) PDF333.65 KB

Gary Prosser
Deputy CEO
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181

Last updated: 21 April 2023