A livestock carrier arrived in Fremantle, Australia with six crew members who later tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The incident is stirring up new controversies in Australia in an already politically charged environment.
The livestock carrier Al Kuwait arrived in Western Australia on its second voyage for Kuwait Livestock Transport & Trading after having been acquired from Wellard Limited, which launched this livestock carrier as the Ocean Shearer in 2016. With a 23,500 square meter carrying capacity, it can transport 20,000 cattle or 75,000 sheep or a combination of both, making it the largest vessel of its kind. The vessel was empty at the time of its arrival into Australia.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment, the vessel reported, “three unwell crew members but none with elevated temperatures or COVID-like symptoms prior to arrival.” After the vessel docked, the Department reported that it became aware of crew members with elevated temperatures and immediately notified the Western Australian Department of Health.
COVID-19 testing was performed on the crew that numbered 48 and six have tested positive for the virus. The six were moved to quarantine in a Perth hotel, while under Australian requirements, no crew members are being permitted to leave the vessel.
The Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment highlighted that all of its staff that came in contact with the vessel were in full personal protective equipment with all necessary precautions having been taken. Further, it said in an official statement that it was confident that government protocols were met. It went on to say that the Western Australia Department of Health is responsible for the management of this incident, including all decisions relating to human health.
A political firestorm is brewing with multiple accusations being leveled over the situation. The Fremantle Port Authority is saying it only found out after its staff handled the ship. It reports that several of its workers may have been exposed unknowingly to the virus and then returned to the community. The port’s workers are now being isolated and a contact tracing effort has begun.
Among the questions being asked is who knew about the situation on the vessel and were the proper notifications made in a timely fashion. The Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, contends that local officials were not notified before the ship’s arrival while the Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, is saying there was no concern and all protocols were carried out. Local officials in Western Australia are saying that the process needs to be reviewed and better notification systems established to ensure that people are not put in harm’s way.
At the same time, there have been calls that the ship should immediately be sent away from Australia while it is also being acknowledged that the ship should be thoroughly cleaned first. There are also fears that additional crew members may fall ill with the virus.
The Al Kuwait had sailed from Hamad Port in Qatar on May 7, arriving in the Perth area on May 22 on its scheduled run to pick up livestock for transport back to the Middle East. Federal authorities permitted the vessel to dock, although the harbor pilot reportedly was wearing PPE.
According to various accusations, it was not until two days later that the Fremantle authorities heard reports that crew members were sick and ordered no one to leave the vessel. The following day COVID-19 tests were administered.
The vessel is no stranger to controversy since its introduction. Animal welfare group repeatedly protested saying the live export of cattle, sheep, and goats results in immeasurable animal suffering. These claims were supported by a series of high profile incidents recently in the transport of animals from Australia.
After being acquired by Kuwait Livestock Transport & Trading in March, the vessel completed its first voyage departing Fremantle in mid-April loaded with 60,183 sheep and 910 cattle. It then made an 18-day voyage to the Gulf ports of Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar, during which 62 sheep died.
Further complicating the current situation for the Al Kuwait, live sheep exports to the Middle East will stop as of June 1 with the commencement of the summer moratorium preventing shipments from leaving Australia. The trade is not expected to resume till mid-September.
In June, a UK Royal Navy destroyer and Dutch Royal Navy ship safely moored in Odessa, Ukraine, were spoofed to locations off-shore of a Russian naval base on Crimea. One week later, it was a US Navy ship moored in the same port that was spoofed (above). These are interesting cases in several ways. First, how […]
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]