So, the Bahijah livestock carrier is still off Freo, anchored in Gage Roads.
Will she or won’t she come alongside in Fremantle soon?
And if she does, will the livestock, sheep etc, be taken off? Or simply checked out, fed, watered and sent on their way to the Middle East again?
By the way, the issues are complicated by the arrival into Fremantle Port this morning from Jordan of the Jawan, another livestock carrier. She’s an empty cargo vessel at the moment.
What will happen with her? We understand she’s due to take in a large number of live sheep and cattle and then to set sail for Jordan.
How will she get there?
How will Bahijah get to the Middle East if she sets sail again?
And who’s in charge of all these shenanigans?
Answer – Not Fremantle Ports, but the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry who can direct the livestock carriers where to go and what to do.
You get the feeling Freo Ports are anything but impressed. The Freo Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge certainly isn’t, judging by her recent media output on the topic.
So what are the Feds saying they’re doing?
Here’s the latest from the Department as of this morning.
31 January 2024
The department is working closely with the exporter, the live export industry, and state and federal government agencies to ensure the return to Australia of the MV Bahijah vessel is managed with the highest standards of biosecurity and animal welfare maintained.
The exporter’s registered veterinarian on board the vessel is recording details of the health and welfare of the livestock each day and this information is being provided to the department.
All reports to date indicate that there are no signs of any significant health or welfare concerns with the livestock on board.
The department is currently assessing the feasibility of an additional independent veterinarian attending the vessel to provide further assurance.
This morning, the exporter provided supporting information to the department to support their application to unload some animals in Australia prior to re-exporting the remaining animals on board the vessel.
The department is assessing this application as a priority, including working closely with our trading partners to ensure any decision to re-export the animals would be supported by the intended market.
These are high quality Australian animals; however, they would be subject to strict biosecurity controls while in Australia.
Ultimately, all plans are commercial decisions for the exporter that must be assessed by the department as the regulator.
These are complex decisions that must balance Australian biosecurity, export legislation, animal welfare considerations and the requirements of our international trading partners.
Further information will be published as decisions are reached.
For further background on the shipment please see previous statement published on 29 January 2024: www.agriculture.gov.au/about/news/update-29-january-2024-mv-bahijah-livestock-vessel
* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News
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