HISTORY of halted shipments…..
The trade was halted in 1991 after 13 shipments were rejected due to the poor condition of arriving sheep. Onboard death rates tripled during the delays. In 1990 the Mawashi Al Gasseem was forced to stay on the water for almost 4 months before a country could be found for the sheep.
When the trade was halted the government stated that exports should only be allowed to resume after strict veterinary and quarantine protocols had been established between our respective governments to safeguard the condition of the sheep and to ensure that future shipments would not be rejected.
Yet on 21 March 1995 , the Federal Primary Industries Minister, Senator Bob Collins, announced the resumption of exports despite the fact that no such protocols had been established.
The Government and industry were, again highly embarrassed when the first of the resumed shipments were rejected for exactly the same sort of reason earlier shipments were rejected: an outbreak of Scabby Mouth disease.
The Mwashi Tabuk, managed by Adelaide based exporter Al Mukairish, with 75,000 sheep sourced from WA and SA sailed from Adelaide to Fremantle, and after leaving Fremantle in Mid April was diverted from the Saudi Port of Jeddah to the Port of Aqaba in Jordan . It had been intended to reach Saudi Arabia in time for one of the country’s big religious festivals on May 8.
On 11 May 1995 , ‘The Countryman’ newspaper, reported that a second ship due to leave Fremantle on May 11 for Saudi Arabia was also expected to be diverted, having been dependant on the success of the initial shipment. Future shipments were placed on hold pending the outcome of an enquiry – a reprieve, for the time being for the sheep.