Thirty-eight days after 16,000 sheep and cattle left Australia, the livestock are finally being unloaded. The MV Bahijah returned to Fremantle on Monday and berthed in the afternoon. After beginning its voyage on January 5, the ship had diverted from its path through the Red Sea around the south of Africa to avoid attacks from Houthi forces. But the Department of Agriculture ordered it to return to Australia. The department last week refused exporter Bassem Dabbah’s application to resume the journey. WA Farmers Livestock Council president Geoff Pearson told The West the unloading was expected to take about three days. Apart from a couple of hundred animals who were quietly offloaded 10 days ago for health reasons, the majority of the stock remained on the vessel. “The sheep will be taken to a quarantine facility about 80km (away) where veterinarians and department officials will monitor their welfare and to ensure biosecurity,” Mr Pearson said. “There will be strict monitoring for five to 10 days to ensure there are no disease outbreaks.” Mr Pearson said once the stock were offloaded, the process of applying for re-export would begin. He said an injunction by animal rights groups in Israel to stop the shipment had been dropped after the department ordered the return of the animals to Australia. He is “optimistic” about the prospects of for re-export them. Mr Pearson said the application would be for a 33-day “long-haul” export around Africa to avoid the Red Sea. Fremantle MP Simone McGurk said on Monday that she believed the remaining livestock would be unloaded “today and in the next two days”. She said that while the decision rested with the Federal Department of Agriculture, the State was willing to help. “We stand ready to assist both the ship operator and the Federal authorities in whatever way we can,” she said. Opponents of the live export industry, including Federal Fremantle MP Josh Wilson, have seized on the MV Bahijah debacle, with the Labor backbencher describing the trade as “marginal, cruel and unnecessary”.