Foot and Mouth Disease has become a topical subject recently mainly because of the recent outbreak of the disease in the UK and its spread to some other countries in the EU. The problem however is not just confined to the UK and the EU but has for many years been a world-wide problem.
Most countries that are foot and mouth free will not allow meat imports from countries which have a foot and mouth problem. This can affect shipowners who carry meat cargoes from these foot and mouth infected countries.
An example of this is the recent total ban of Argentinian meat into the EU. Since 1993 meat imports from the Argentine to the EU have been restricted due to foot and mouth disease in certain areas of Argentina. Imports were allowed from the foot and mouth free areas but were strictly controlled. Recently there was a further spread of foot and mouth disease in Argentina resulting in the Standing Veterinary Committee of the EU stating that the situation in the Argentine was unclear and advising that from the 13th March 2001 all imports of fresh and frozen meats from the Argentine to the EU be suspended. This ban then had to be implemented by each EU country. The UK, Holland, Belgium and France implemented the ban as from the 13th March and although they allowed containers of meat to be discharged, this meat had to be re-exported. This posed a problem for two UK P&I Club Members as they had ships at sea with containers of Argentine meat on board due to be discharged at Rotterdam. Fortunately Germany, although imposing the ban from the 13th March stated that cargo loaded before that date could still be imported into Germany. Containers of meat due to be discharged at Rotterdam, which fortunately were destined for German receivers, were discharged at Hamburg thus avoiding any problem.
In reality, this type of problem is for the shippers and receivers to solve, but the shipowner could become involved if the cargo owners abandon the cargo at the discharge port or if fines are imposed for illegal import of the meat cargo.
The Managers are collating information on foot and mouth issues with any relevant points being circulated to Members.
For further information contact :
Tony Kennedy (Specialist)
Tel +44 20 7204 2208