England: Dutchman ‘Onderwater’ Exports Scottish Calves From Ramsgate. Plus More Info !

We are giving extra time to live animal exports at the moment.  We have plenty of campaign experience for over 27 years to support this.  Live exports, and the time that animals have to endure suffering on transporters is the ultimate shame of the EU and its so-called legislation; Regulation 1/2005 on the ‘protection of animals during transport’.

Believe us; there is no protection offered by this legislation; and many EU member states do not even bother to apply the rules of the regulation anyway.  In summary it is a complete and utter joke; causing untold suffering to the animals which endure transportation across Europe on a daily basis.  Only when the rules are changed to a maximum journey time of 8 hours or less will we see any improvement in the rules.


There was an article in the British press last week about Scottish calves being shipped to Europe (Spain, for further fattening) via Ramsgate; Kent: England:  https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/veal-calves-trying-suckle-peoples-13432873?fbclid

We also covered early shipments with our other post:  https://worldanimalsvoice.com/2018/11/15/november-2018-scottish-farmers-now-exporting-calves-via-ramsgate-england-with-help-from-dutchman-oderwater/


We feel the need to give a bit more information on the export business from Ramsgate.

All photos are by official photographer and activist, Valerie Cameron.

The animal export trade changed from operating mainly from Dover Harbour in Kent to the smaller facility at Ramsgate mainly because of the amount of ferry traffic that was using Dover to run scheduled services to Europe did not really make it possible for additional ships to take up berthing space.

empty joline

The ‘Joline’

Although it was nothing more than a cheap and nasty ‘bathtub’ – or to be more precise; an ex Russian battle tank carrier to used only on rivers; and not in the English Channel; the vessel; named the ‘Joline’; could not berth at Dover and load animal transporters; and then depart in the time available that was given to it.  Hundreds of trucks could load onto ferries for each sailing within the hour; but when it came to the Joline; it was unable to load four, five or even six animal transporters; such was the inability of all those involved with its operation.

 Here are a few pictures of the Joline trying to operate at Dover.  Note its size compared to the normal cross Channel ferries doing the same route to Calais.  The normal ferries would not take livestock transporters due to a massive and very successful campaign asking them to stop over the years.  They stopped taking slaughter animal transporters; and so another way had to be found by the farmers to get animals across to Europe. 

joline at dover size 1.jpg

joline at dover size 2.jpg

The Joline at Dover – Note its size compared to standard ferries.  Even so, the normal ferries could load trucks much quicker !

The ‘Joline’ came on the scene as the ‘solution’ to this.  It is operated by a Dutchman named Johannes Onderwater.  The vessel is registered in Riga, Latvia, which is an EU member state.  Onderwater has his own fleet of livestock vehicles; but many other (mainly) Dutch hauliers also use the Joline to get UK animals in to Europe.

joline at ramsgate

 The Joline at Ramsgate harbour


Onderwater own scania 1

onderwater own scania 2

Above – Onderwater’s own white (Scania) trucks carrying livestock en route to the harbour 


Although many do not know; we can confirm that until recently; Onderwater operated another live animal transportation business out of Riga, Latvia.  We have many details on this.  Mr Onderwaters official Dutch registered company is called Onderwater Agneaux BV; and we do have the name of his Latvian business; but we are not going to divulge it.

RIGA confirmation.jpg

Confirmation that the ‘Joline’ is registered in Riga, Latvia

Onderwater is very well known to the animal rights movement in Kent, England.  He first surfaced several years ago when he (personally) attempted to export animals from the UK to mainland Europe.  Using a sealed box type ex refrigerated trailer; Onderwater attempted to deceive his way to Europe by declaring to customs that his load in the trailer contained ‘Boxed Meat’.  As such, the vehicle and its contents were allowed to board a P&O ferry for shipment to Europe – via Calais to be precise.

bow wagon carrying live sheep

A typical ‘Box Trailer’ arrives at Dover carrying live sheep

Very observant and on the ball crewmen on the (P&O) ferry noticed that things did not seem quite right with the trailer whilst it was on the ferry.  Fluid was seen to be dripping from the trailer – this later turned out to be urine.  They reported this situation with the trailer to the Captain of the ferry who immediately demanded that the rear of the trailer be opened up.

open rear doors of box trailer

A rare shot by activists taken of the inside of the ‘box trailer’.  Sheep can clearly be seen standing on the top deck.


Rather than find loads of ‘boxed meat’ inside as declared on the paperwork; the P&O crew actually found that the trailer contained over 300 LIVE sheep; and it was their urine that was dripping onto the ferry flooring.  This issue thereafter went much further with Kent based AR organisations who got Kent Trading Standards involved with taking up prosecutions.  After a lot of work by all parties, the ‘Boxed Meat’ case (as it became known) went to court at Folkestone, Kent on 5th July 2010.

At the trial; Onderwater Agneaux BV (Onderwaters Dutch company) pleaded guilty to no less than six (6) offences under the Animal Health Act 1981 of causing the transport of sheep in contravention of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and EU Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 (Protection of animals during transport).

As a result, Onderwater’s company, Onderwater Agneaux BV (of the Netherlands), was fined at Folkestone a total of £10,370. And so, under UK law, by being prosecuted in this way, and pleading guilty to offences, Onderwater became a formally convicted criminal.  With Kent AR informing Dutch friends in Europe; Onderwater was also prosecuted by the Dutch authorities.  In the Netherlands he was given 2 out of 3 ‘strikes’ on his operators license.  If he was caught again and given a 3rd strike; then his Dutch hauliers operating license was to be removed; meaning that he would be unable to continue transporting live animals as a business.

So – forward to the current time.  The Joline is seen very infrequently at Ramsgate as UK live exports have almost been stopped by very positive campaigns by the animal rights movement.  Onderwater now deals primarily with getting UK sheep to Europe at the times of Eid, the Muslim festival of sacrifice.  For the rest of the time shipments are very haphazard; often carrying just a few transporters.  With the Joline running between Ramsgate and Calais; the cost of fuel, berthing fees and crew employment costs; the question has often been asked how he can make this operation pay ? – it is still a mystery today.

Box on Joline 2

Box on Joline

Above – A Box trailer loads onto the ‘Joline’ at Ramsgate, England


loaded joline

wonky roof on joline

Livestock transporters depart on the Joline – note the ‘wonky roof’ on the truck shown left above.  How does this comply with the Regulation standards set by the EU ? – the trailer should be scrapped !!!

Now the opportunity to take calves from Scotland has arisen; mainly because the ferry operator which used to ship them to Ireland for onward movement via Cherbourg (France) decided to close down the trade after an expose of the business was made and published on UK television; Onderwater has stepped in as the lifeline for the Scottish farmers wanting to export calves live.  It must be remembered that these calves are males; an unwanted by product of the dairy industry as they do not produce milk and so are basically unwanted.  They are shipped into Europe for further fattening; where they are usually slaughtered after just 6 months of age.  Think about this trade the next time you have cows milk in your tea – convert instead to plant based milk and avoid all of this animal suffering.


Arrival at Calais, France –  note the white Scania cabs of the Onderwater fleet of trucks at the front 

We will be publishing another post very soon on British exported calves and their final destinations.  We think it will come as a surprise to many of you.  Watch this space.

Regards Mark







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