THE Lincoln Express carrying the sheep meant for the Islamic sacrificial ritual, korban, finally sailed into port yesterday afternoon, five days late.
With its arrival, Jurong Port's Berth J12 became a hive of activity as hundreds of volunteers quickly moved the 4,617 animals from ship to shore, so they could be whisked off by lorry to mosques and slaughtered before this evenings prayers.
A total of 50 lorries had been mobilised to carry out the delivery, about 30 more than usual.
To further speed things up, a makeshift platform had been set up, so eight lorries, instead of the usual two, could be loaded at a go.
The volunteers, together with members of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), port authorities and officials from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), had gathered to await the ships arrival about one hour before it was due at 2.30pm.
A port official said to The Straits Times: This is a very extraordinary situation!
Volunteer Rashid Isaaid, 34, said: I was waiting to do this the whole weekend. Now I see the sheep, Im very happy.
Despite the rush, the health formalities were carried out.
The Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who witnessed the sacrificial ritual at Al-Ansar mosque, assured the Muslim community that there would be a thorough investigation into the delay. The Straits Times/ ANN