Recall Notice Issued for Australian Livestock Carrier

close up of a cow's head
Updated Published

The Bahijah, a livestock carrier that set sail from Fremantle in early January bound for Aqaba, Jordan, has received directives from the Australian federal government to head back to Australia.

The 7,900-ton livestock carrier, originally named the Ocean Outback and now under the ownership of Bassem Dabbah Shipping and operated by Korkyra Shipping, was built in 2010 and has the capacity to transport approximately 8,000 animals.

Departing from Fremantle on January 5th, the ship deviated from its original course on January 16th due to fears of potential attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. As per the AIS data, its destination seemed to be East London in South Africa, and the indication was that it was in a holding pattern, anticipating further instructions.

Reports from Australian local media propose that the decision to sail towards Africa instead of continuing towards the Red Sea may be linked, in part, to the vessel's previous role in transporting animals to Israel.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry in Australia (DAFF) originally stated its commitment to closely observing the vessel's journey, primarily focusing on ensuring the well-being and health of the animals on board.

Upon leaving Australia, the ship had to submit alternative plans if it couldn't reach its intended destination in the Middle East. Additionally, it had to carry extra provisions of feed and veterinary supplies beyond the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, as mandated for the planned journey.

Yet, over the weekend, DAFF issued a directive to the exporter, insisting on the immediate return of Bahijah and its consignment to Australia. The decision was grounded in concerns regarding biosecurity risks and livestock welfare.

When the ship deviated from its intended course towards Africa, regional animal welfare organizations asserted that the journey stressed the livestock significantly. The prolonged detour around Africa further exacerbated this strain. These groups called upon Australian exporters to halt shipments to locations near regional conflicts.