Bader III sets sail for Middle East

Rebecca TurnerCountryman

The Bader III was loaded with 62,857 sheep and 10,250 cattle on Wednesday, departing Fremantle Port on Thursday and heading for Turkey on what is likely to be a 20-day journey.

In response to recent criticism in the media about conditions for the ship’s employees, Countryman was invited to see first-hand that onboard everything was shipshape.

Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) managing director Ahmad Ghosheh said the Bader III had received its renewed Australian Certificate for the Carrying of Livestock.

Following the previous week’s hold-up regarding new protocol requirements for cattle destined for Turkey, Mr Ghosheh said the ship was now “on the water” and on its way to the Middle East.

Mr Ghosheh said discussions between LSS and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) were ongoing, however, he wished to make clear that the Pakistani crew aboard the Bader III were not imprisoned, as had been reported.

He said reports by the ITF that employees could not take shore leave in Australia and had huge amounts of back pay owing were untrue.

Bader III captain Rohail Riaz agreed, saying his Pakistani crew were upset about media reports that claimed they were living in worse conditions than the sheep.

Capt. Riaz said the employees had comfortable living quarters, were paid well and had access to shore leave.

“Employees have no restrictions on access to shore leave and every cent of their full pay is made to them on request in cash,” he said.

Capt. Riaz, who has worked in the livestock shipping trade since 1991, has been sailing as a captain with the Arab Ship Managers group of ships since 1998.

He said following media coverage of ITF’s claims, he had received many phone calls from interested parties voicing concern over what was occurring on board, including from the Pakistani embassy.

Capt. Riaz said the crew were by no means imprisoned and if an employee wanted to leave the ship, they were able to at the nearest port.

He added that employees were not expected to pay their own medical bills.

In regards to the reported sighting of a SOS signal from the ship, Capt. Riaz said has been seen coming from the ship, this was most probably welding work being carried out on the Bader III.

The ship has 71 employees on board, made up of Pakistani, Egyptian, Jordanian, Filipino and Indian workers.

Capt. Riaz said there was a waiting list of people wanting to work on livestock vessels, with the pay and conditions particularly appealing for many in Pakistan.

“On average, a stockman earns about $US1000 a month. This is a very good salary, even a government officer in Pakistan would not earning this much a month,” he said.

Countryman found that conditions on board the Bader III were comfortable and clean for both workers and livestock.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails