Transporting livestock from Australia

Operators of Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV) and Foreign Vessels, as well as the shippers of livestock, have obligations when loading and transporting livestock from Australia.

We have responsibility for the application of Marine Order 43 (Cargo and cargo handling—livestock) which outlines the requirements to carry livestock from Australia by ship. These requirements cover the structure and operation of the ship.

All vessels permanently equipped for the carriage of livestock are required to carry an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL) issued by AMSA. View the template of the ACCL (WORD 60.5 KB).

The ACCL is accompanied by the Record of Equipment and Arrangements which is an attachment to the ACCL. This is to be prepared by the ship owner or operator and submitted to AMSA for consideration.

Marine order 43 imparts a number of obligations on all regulated Australian vessels and foreign vessels carrying livestock that are required before, during, and after a livestock voyage, including:

  • The requirement to notify AMSA in writing of the intention to load livestock
  • On completion of a livestock voyage—other than a short voyage which is less than 24 hours—the master is obligated to make a report to AMSA in writing.
  • The master must inform AMSA by the most expedient means when the mortality level for a species of livestock carried is exceeded, or expected to be exceeded.

Apply for an Australian certificate for the carriage of livestock

To apply for an ACCL, the below steps need to be followed

  1. An application in writing to the Manager Ship Inspection and Registration by email to
  2. The assessment of applications are charged within the guidelines of marine services fees and charges. The cost is A$272 as per the Fees determination.
  3. The application must provide all information required in order for a certificate to be issued.
  4. Three copies of each of the following documents must be submitted to AMSA:
  • Scale drawings providing details of:
    • the design, materials, methods of construction and arrangement of fittings for the containment and movement of the livestock
    • ventilation arrangements, including current test measurements, together with the gross volume of enclosed spaces
    • lighting
    • the provisions for storage and distribution of fodder and water
    • drainage arrangements
    • arrangements of main and secondary supplies of power
    • the provision of fire-fighting appliances
    • the general arrangement of the vessel, both before and after modification to carry livestock, if a converted vessel, and
    • the structural fire protection plan of the vessel, both before and after modification to carry livestock, if a converted vessel.
  • Stability data for the vessel with livestock on board.
  • A documented maintenance program related to:
    • the livestock containment structure—including accessways, ramps between decks and vessel/shore livestock accesses
    • ventilation, lighting and drainage arrangements for the livestock areas of the vessel, including main and secondary sources of power
    • the arrangements for storage and distribution of fodder and water
    • the making of potable water on board (if this is required to provide for the necessary quantity of water to supply the livestock), and
    • the fire-fighting appliances in the livestock areas of the vessel.

Notice for livestock operators

The practice of long penning is not permitted.

Pen rail and floor strength is calculated on the pen area, with the volume of livestock for the specific pen area. The structure is assessed on the assumption that the entire mass of the animals will be applied over two-thirds of the pen area catering for bunching up. The mass of the animals allowed in a pen is also designed to ensure that animals are not 'crushed' against a rail or trapped due to the mass of the livestock acting against those animals against a rail. These figures were drawn from livestock trials carried out in Victoria. 
The practice of 'long penning' exposes a greater mass of livestock to a specific area of the pen structure for which the structure has not been designed for increasing the risk of structural failure. It also increases the risk of animals being trapped or crushed (particularly weaker animals). Given that feed and water arrangements are specifically designed for the specific pen area, long penning can compromise the effectiveness of this arrangement as livestock may crowd specific areas to the exclusion of others. 
Livestock ship stability is another issues as this is calculated transversely and longitudinally with the load of livestock per pen, through a deck by deck load plan, addressing livestock type, weight and the number per pen. Livestock apply a static and dynamic impact on vessel stability. The movement of animals within a pen is one factor in this dynamic effect. This is demonstrated by the rolling of the livestock carrier Jawan Portland due to poor stability and the dynamic effect of the livestock resulting in an increasing roll. Long penning in transverse direction can have a detrimental effect on the ship stability noting the stability data cannot cater for this as it assume the animals are penned in accordance with the approved arrangement. 
Long penning presents a significant risk to the proper carriage of livestock and contravenes Marine order 43.
Where vessels are found to be 'long penning', steps will be taken to ensure that the ship is brought into compliance with Marine order 43 requirements with stipulated pen dimensions to limit the above mentioned adverse effects.

Related information

Last updated: 

Tuesday 15 February 2022