Kuwaiti livestock ship held off Australia due to coronavirus outbreak

Kuwaiti livestock ship held off Australia due to coronavirus outbreak
The ship left the Middle East on May 7 and docked near the city of Perth on May 22 after telling the Australian immigration and agriculture authorities that some crew members had raised temperatures. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Kuwaiti livestock ship held off Australia due to coronavirus outbreak

Kuwaiti livestock ship held off Australia due to coronavirus outbreak
  • Six crew later tested positive for the coronavirus and were taken to hotels on land for quarantine
  • The Al Kuwait’s last stop before Australia was Hamad Port in Qatar, according to maritime records posted online

SYDNEY: A Kuwaiti livestock ship was being held off Australia’s west coast after six crew members tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said on Tuesday, heightening concerns over how arrivals by sea are handled.
The Al Kuwait left the Middle East on May 7 and docked near the city of Perth on May 22 after telling the Australian immigration and agriculture authorities that some crew members had raised temperatures, Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan said.
Six crew later tested positive for the new coronavirus and were taken to hotels on land for quarantine while the state police commissioner asked the Australian Border Force and Department of Agriculture why the ship was allowed to dock.
“Clearly this is not good,” McGowan told reporters in a televised news conference.
“We want to get to a resolution as soon as possible so that the ship is in a position to leave the port.”
Border Force and the Department of Agriculture were not immediately available for comment.
The Al Kuwait’s last stop before Australia was Hamad Port in Qatar, according to maritime records posted online.
The ship expects to pick up a cargo of thousands of sheep, and transport them to the Middle East.
Managing boat arrivals became a sore point for Australia after a cruise ship unloaded hundreds of passengers infected with COVID-19 in Sydney in March. Nearly a quarter of Australia’s 102 COVID-19 deaths have been linked to the Ruby Princess, and the ship became the country’s biggest single source of infection.
Al Kuwait’s owner, the Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading Co, directed Reuters to Australian Livestock Exporters’​ Council CEO Mark Harvey Sutton who declined to comment on the communications between government agencies and the ship.
“All the protocols and processes have been followed,” Sutton said by telephone.
He added that the exporter, Rural Export & Trading (WA), had planned to carry 56,000 sheep to the Middle East. The sheep were being kept held in a feedlot. Sutton said he did not know what would happen if the ship’s departure was delayed until after May 31, when a moratorium on live exports to the Middle East begin.


Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Updated 16 min 24 sec ago

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups
  • Djalali was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage
  • Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence

DUBAI: Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, may face imminent execution, rights groups said on Tuesday.
"On 1 December, a judge said Ahmadreza was to be transferred to Rajai Shahr prison TODAY to proceed with his imminent execution," Amnesty International said on Twitter.
"His lawyer was informed that Ahmadreza would be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison ... today (Tuesday, Dec. 1)," Iran Human Rights said in a statement, quoting his wife Vida Mehrannia.
There was no official Iranian reaction to the reports.
Sweden's foreign minister said last week she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart after reports Iran may soon carry out Djalali's death sentence.
Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage, having been accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists. Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence.
Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting a number of dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries. Tehran has regularly dismissed the accusation. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)