A ship carrying around 14,000 sheep and 2,000 cattle is marooned off the coast of Australia in sweltering heat after it was forced to abandon a trip through the Red Sea, causing outcry from people concerned about the animals’ welfare.
The vessel left Australia on Jan. 5 for Israel where it was to unload but diverted from its course in mid-January due to the threat of attack by Yemen’s Houthi militia before being ordered home by the Australian government.
The animals are now in limbo and could be discharged in Australia, where biosecurity rules would require them to quarantine, or sent back to sea for a month-long journey to Israel around Africa, avoiding the Red Sea.
The stranding underscores the widening impact of militia strikes on ships in the Red Sea, the main maritime route between Europe and Asia, which have disrupted global trade.
It also underscores the risk to Australia’s live animal export industry, which sends hundreds of thousands of animals to the Middle East each year.
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