The 2010 Indonesian built livestock carrier BAHIYAH that departed Fremantle, last Friday 5th January, 2024 for Aqaba, Jordan, has been instructed to return to Australia by the country’s federal government.Formerly known as the OCEAN OUTBACK she has a capacity for approximately 8,000 animals.
On Tuesday 16th January she diverted from her route due to concerns regarding attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. According to available AIS data, she was headed for East London in South Africa and that she was “waiting orders.”Local media in Australia have speculated that the decision to head towards Africa and avoid moving forward to the Red Sea was probably in part due to the ship having previously transported animals to Israel.
The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) initially said that it was monitoring the passage of the vessel with the health and welfare of the animals on board being a top priority.
At the time of departure from Australia the vessel was required to lodge contingency arrangements should the vessel not be able to reach the proposed destination in the Middle East and even load additional fodder and veterinary supplies above those required by Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock for the proposed voyage.
But, over the weekend, DAFF directed the exporter that BAHIJAH and her consignment be immediately returned to Australia citing biosecurity risks and the welfare of the livestock as the main reasons for the decision.
When the vessel diverted from her destination towards Africa, local animal rights groups claimed that the trip was stressful for the livestock, compounded by a lengthy rerouting around Africa. They urged Australian exporters to suspend shipments to destinations in or near regional conflicts.