Livestock Carrier Bahijah Ordered to Return to Australia Amidst Biosecurity Concerns

January 1, 2024

Livestock Carrier Bahijah Ordered to Return to Australia Amidst Biosecurity Concerns

Date: January 25, 2024

The livestock carrier Bahijah, which embarked from Fremantle in early January bound for Aqaba, Jordan, faces a directive from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF) to return to Australia immediately.

Livestock carrier Bahijah cruises open ocean. The large ship is white with a dark blue hull
Livestock Carrier Bahijah Image: Antoni Almeida Serra/

The vessel, designed to accommodate approximately 8000 animals, recently deviated from its original route to East London in South Africa, prompted by concerns over potential attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, as indicated by AIS data. Local media speculates the link between the Bahijah‘s diversion and its past transport of animals to Israel.

When the vessel originally diverted, local animal rights activists fought for the welfare of the livestock, claiming that the trip was too stressful for the animals, compounded by a lengthy rerouting around Africa. They urged Australian exporters to suspend shipments to destinations in or near regional conflicts. The extra weeks onboard to get to the liner’s final destination will likely cause several animals to perish.

Over the weekend (20-21st of Jan), DAFF directed the exporter that Bahijah and its consignments be immediately returned to Australia Citing biosecurity risks and the welfare of the livestock as the main reason for the decisions

During its original departure, the Bahijah had taken precautionary measures by loading additional fodder and veterinary supplies, surpassing the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock for the proposed voyage. The vessel also submitted contingency arrangements, anticipating potential challenges in reaching its intended destination in the Middle East.

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