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Anna Marra may take cargo of COVID-19 struck vessel
Talks are under way to sail 56,000 sheep to the Middle East aboard the 'Anna Marra' after the 'Al Kuwait' they were bound for became stranded in Fremantle amid a coronavirus outbreak. She docked in Fremantle on May 22 with 48 multinational crew on board and 12 cases had been confirmed by May 28. The infected crew and dozens of their colleagues were in hotel quarantine, while a skeleton crew of 10 remains on board. With the northern summer live export ban beginning on June 1, the scramble to get the sheep to the Middle East as soon as possible is on and will require an exemption by the federal agriculture department. WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan revealed negotiations were under way to use the 'Awassi Express', now named the 'Anna Marra', which is not far off the Fremantle coast. The vessel sparked the ban following outrage over mass sheep deaths caused by heat stress on a 2017 journey. Sending the sheep to local abattoirs was considered a last resort. Meanwhile, local workers who boarded the vessel before the infections were confirmed, including a Fremantle Port Authority pilot and a trainee who steered the ship into harbour, were self-isolating at home while awaiting test results which were expected on May 29.
Disputed livestock carrier left Fremantle bound to Broome
On April 27 the "Awassi Express" which had been at the centre of a national outcry over the live export industry left the port of Fremantle without animals aboard, almost three weeks after arriving in port, bound to Broome, ETA May 1, to load cattle to ferry to South-East Asia. The "Awassi Express" had arrived in Fremantle just as activists released grim vision of many sheep dying aboard the ship in extreme heat on voyages to the Middle East. The ship had come to Fremantle to take another consignment of sheep to the Middle East but was left in limbo after shipping regulator the Australian Marine Safety Authority found a series of faults and ordered improvements to the ship’s ventilation and watering systems. It was believed sheep that were to be put aboard the "Awassi Express" will now be loaded on the "Al Messilah", which is already in port. The "Al Messilah" made headlines in 2017 after it was revealed many sheep died on the vessel during a voyage in July 2016. The AMSA has ordered that an internal tank and vent pipe be installed on the "Al Messilah" before animals are allowed to be loaded on the ship. The case led State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan to seek legal advice as to whether the WA Government had powers to lay charges against live exporters for voyages beginning in Fremantle. That advice was now being used in a State Agriculture Department investigation of an incident last August aboard the "Awassi Express" in which at least 2400 sheep died. In both incidents the vessels were contracted by Perth-based company Emanuel Exports. The delay in loading the animals would come at great cost to Emanuel because the company would be paying to feed and tend sheep in quarantine.
Livestock carrier allowed to sail
The "Awassi Express" has now been granted permission to sail after improvements have been made to the ventilation of sheep pens. However, the exporter, the West Australian company Emanuel Exports, still needs an export permit from the Department of Agriculture before sheep can be sent offshore. Emanuel Exports had planned to send 65,000 sheep to the Middle East on the "Awassi Express" prior to the ship failing the AMSA inspection. The Awassi Express has remained docked in Fremantle, undergoing repairs. Emanuel Exports has since agreed to reduce the number of sheep it will send on ships to the Middle East for the foreseeable future following Department of Agriculture demands. The company will also allow an independent observer to travel with the sheep to the Middle East and send back daily reports outlining the sheep's welfare to officials in Canberra. The AMSA expected sheep could be boarded onto the Awassi Express later this week pending agricultural approval. Irrespective of the Awassi Express gaining AMSA approval, the exporter might opt against using the ship on its impending consignment to the Middle East and instead use the "Al Messilah", another live export ship currently docked in Fremantle. The "Al Messilah" has a permit to carry livestock but needs to make minor improvements to an internal tank and vent pipe, which are unrelated to livestock areas, before it can set sail.News schreiben