Coronavirus crisis: COVID-19-affected ship Al Kuwait departs WA for Middle East as State records no new cases

The West Australian
VideoThe ship has been berthed in Fremantle for 3 weeks, in limbo after almost half the crew fell sick with COVID-19.

The coronavirus-afflicted Al Kuwait livestock ship has begun its delayed departure from Western Australia, carrying about 35,000 sheep to the Middle East.

It comes as WA recorded no new coronavirus cases on Friday, leaving the state with two active cases, who are both in hotel quarantine.

The Al Kuwait arrived in Fremantle on May 22 but was held up after more than 20 crew contracted COVID-19 following a voyage from the United Arab Emirates.

The outbreak meant the ship could not leave WA before the Commonwealth’s northern summer live export ban began on June 1.

A required exemption was subsequently granted, with strict conditions forcing the number of sheep on board to be slashed from the originally planned 56,000.

Stormy weather further delayed the vessel from leaving as scheduled on Wednesday.

Animals Australia lost a last-ditch Federal Court appeal against the live export while Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie had a similar Federal Parliament motion rejected.

The export ban was introduced this year after thousands of sheep died from heat stress aboard the Awassi Express in 2017.

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