AN Australian ship carrying 22,000 sheep that was barred from unloading in Bahrain almost two weeks ago has now turned up at Port Qasim in Karachi. The live cargo was rejected when Bahrain voiced concerns about the discovery of scabby mouth disease in a small number of sheep, reported ABC on Wednesday.

The Department of Agriculture had confirmed the Ocean Drover had been redirected, but would not officially disclose where to.

The Ocean Drover is run by Fremantle-based company Wellard Exports, which said on Tuesday that it could not understand why its cargo had not been accepted.

In a statement, Wellard said the sheep had been ‘inspected and certified for export by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service in accordance with health conditions agreed between the Australian and Bahrain governments’.

“The sheep have also inspected in-port by an independent veterinarian approved by the Bahrain government who confirmed the sheep’s animal health status,” the statement read. “Sheep from the same consignment were successfully discharged in two other markets without incident before the vessel arrived in Bahrain.”

Wellard said the Ocean Drover had already discharged most of its cargo before being rejected by Bahrain, so the sheep had plenty of space and had been provided with fresh food and water.

Department of Agriculture spokesman Paul Morris told ABC the sale was made possible due to a new export agreement with Pakistan. “The exporter has put forward or did put forward an Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System for approval,” he said.

“We reviewed that very carefully and we did approve the ESCAS, so the animals are being unloaded into an approved exporter supply chain assurance system.” Thousands of sheep had also been stranded on a ship docked in Kuwait, but they were unloaded on Tuesday.

That ship, Al Shuwaikh, run by Australian company Emanuel Exports and with a carrying capacity of 50,000, had been due to dock over a week ago.