I piloted about 3,000 ships in Jeddah Islamic Port & Jeddah Petromin Oil Terminal in 1980-85.
We had many ships coming in with live sheep, a lot were small RORO ships carrying a few 1,000s from other Red Sea ports such as Port Sudan. On arrival, the stern ramp would be dropped, a ‘Judas’ sheep would be led off, held by the ear, and all the others would calmly follow. Stories were told that a similar method was used for discharging the first cargo of Australian sheep and it was two weeks later before they had all been ‘rounded up’. However, we did have large ships coming in from Australia.
On 15 June 1984, I berthed the Saudi flagged livestock carrier MV Muwashi Al Gasseem, 30,435GRT & 195mts LOA. She carried up to 100,000 sheep and, other than a certain aroma, they were well run and well kept ships. If I remember correctly, there was not a vet on board, but there were Australian stockmen. I asked about death of sheep and was told there were no questions asked if mortalities were less than 4%! However, there was a very unpleasant animal trade into Jeddah. It was the importation of camels mainly from Somalia. The ships were old general cargo ships, many of which, for whatever reason, were old Messageries Maritimes vessels. The Saudis would not accept any camels with, for example, a broken leg. When we took these ships out of the port, the injured camels were, I believe, dropped into the sea.
As a deck apprentice on P&O’s SS Karmala, a Victory ship, we carried 450 (or 540) live pigs from Bangkok to Hong Kong. This was probably 1963 and there was cholera in that area. Each pig was individually crated and carried two high on 2, 3, 4 and 5 hatches. The other apprentice and I had to mix the ‘gruel’ and feed them all individually, then, with great difficulty, retrieve the metal dishes from the back of the crates so as to continue the feeding. We had about eight deaths, which was considered very good and these we threw over the side! Surprisingly, considering our animal friends were on board for almost a week and the problems with fresh water, there was very little mess. We, gullible apprentices, were told they were medicated to make them constipated (possibly true) and then were sold by weight in Hong Kong. I can’t see Hong Kong businessmen falling for that trick many times. As soon as we passed through Lei Yu Mun into The Eastern Harbour, motor cargo boats were alongside waiting for their crated pigs.