WAV Comment: Well done ‘The Guardian’ (London) national press for keeping us so well informed on this issue. As usual and have we have seen with issues such as the capsize of the ‘Queen Hind’ in Midia (Ro); the jack arse Romanian government have nothing to say – just like their masters at the EU. Everyone in power keeping tight lipped about animal suffering as always. Today, 28/3; it would appear that there are now 20 livestock vessels having problems in relation to the Suez incident.
If this is not time to stop all live animal exports, then when is ?
Do politicians listen ? – Do they hell !
View all our posts regarding live transport by visiting: Live Transport – World Animals Voice
Suez Canal: Livestock ships caught in logjam are ‘biohazard timebomb’, charity warns
At least 20 vessels carrying live animals, according to industry tracking data, which could pose problems if Ever Given rescue effort proves prolonged and feed supplies run low
With the MV Ever Given mega-ship still stranded in the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in both directions, it emerges that at least 20 of the cargo vessels forced to queue in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and along the historic waterway are carrying livestock, raising concerns about the animals’ welfare.
Data from freight tracking website Marine Traffic indicates that 11 of the delayed container ships are carrying cattle, sheep and other livestock, while the Australia-based NGO Animals International has identified a further nine, according to The Guardian.
Marine Traffic spokesperson Georgios Hatzimanolis said three of the carriers, the Omega Star, the Unimar and the Sea Star, “appear to be stuck at various points in the canal” rather than queuing for entry.
Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for Animals International, said the Unimar and Omega Star appear to have left Spain on 15 March and 16 March respectively while a further nine of the boats were loaded in Romania earlier this month.
While the animals aboard are not in immediate danger, the prospect of the rescue effort to free the Ever Given taking several weeks to accomplish poses serious questions about their welfare.
“I wouldn’t expect just after a two-day delay for a problem to have built up,” Peter Stevenson, chief policy officer at Compassion in World Farming, told Bloomberg. “It’s as time goes by that the problems get worse. Occasionally, there are real scandals when things go wrong, but it’s a day-to-day horror.”
“My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons,” Ms Weidinger said.
“Getting stuck on board means there is a risk of starvation, dehydration, injuries, waste buildup so they can’t lie down, and nor can the crew get rid of dead animal bodies in the canal. It’s basically a ticking biohazard timebomb for animals and the crew and any person involved.”
Companies transporting livestock by sea reportedly set sail with at least two or three days’ worth of extra hay or feed on board and could potentially have more delivered by barge if they cannot reach port in time, a process known as “midstream loading”.
The chaos in the canal began on Tuesday when the Ever Given, a 220,000-tonne container ship operated by Taiwanese shipping giant Evergreen was apparently blown off course by 30mph winds and became wedged in the bank, bringing traffic to a standstill in a trade route that accounts for approximately one-tenth of the world’s seaborne freight.
Efforts to free it using a team of tugboats, diggers and cranes have yet to see the ship refloated, with the ongoing delays to the delivery of container cargo expected to have widespread knock-on effects for the global supply chain.
“Even the slightest delay in traffic can result in congestion and disturb the delivery of goods and commodities on both sides,” analysts at S&P Global Platts warned earlier this week.
Earlier report from The Guardian:
At least 20 livestock ships caught in Suez canal logjam
Concerns for animals’ welfare if Ever Given blockage crisis is protracted
At least 20 of the boats delayed due to a stricken container ship in the Suez canal are carrying livestock, according to marine tracking data, raising concerns about the welfare of the animals if the logjam becomes protracted.
The 220,000-ton Ever Given is causing the longest closure of the Suez canal in decades with more than 200 ships estimated to be unable to pass, and incoming vessels diverting around southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
Georgios Hatzimanolis, a spokesperson for the tracking website Marine Traffic, said while some livestock ships were waiting to enter the canal, three – the Omega Star, the Unimar and the Sea Star – “all appear to be stuck at various points in the canal”. Marine Traffic data showed 11 delayed livestock ships, while an NGO has identified others, bringing the total identified so far to 20.
Five of the ships identified had loaded animals in Spain, and nine had loaded in Romania earlier this month, according to the NGO Animals International.
Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for Animals International, said data from marine tracking websites indicated the Unimar left Spain on 15 March bound for Jeddah. The Omega Star left Spain, she said, on 16 March bound for Port Said.
There were no immediate welfare concerns for the animals, but if the Ever Given has to be lightened to make it easier to dislodge, using cranes to remove enough containers could take weeks and the surrounding ships would need to leave and find longer alternative routes.
The nearby ports of Said and Suez could be used to reload fodder if supplies run low, though the process may not be straightforward with so many ships in the queue.
Thousands of cattle have already been slaughtered this year because of delays at sea.
Two ships, the Karim Allah and the Elbeik, were forced to spend months away from port because their original destination refused to accept the animals due to a health paperwork dispute that raised fears the cattle could be carrying the bovine disease bluetongue. The dispute ignited a chain of events that saw both vessels eventually return to Spain.
The animals on board the ships returned in such a poor condition Spanish authorities ordered them to be slaughtered in the port of Cartagena. More than 850 cattle on the Karim Allah were slaughtered earlier in March, while the Elbeik slaughter is ongoing with an estimated 360 of the almost 1,800 who commenced the journey culled as of Thursday.
Weidinger said she was concerned if the crisis became protracted the animals’ welfare could become an issue.
“My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons,” she said.
“Getting stuck on board means there is a risk [for the animals] of starvation, dehydration, injuries, waste buildup so they can’t lie down, and nor can the crew get rid of dead animal bodies in the [Suez] canal. It’s basically a ticking biohazard timebomb for animals and the crew and any person involved,” she said.
Asked about the ships with Spanish-origin livestock on board, the Spanish agriculture ministry said on Thursday: “We cannot tell you anything about these ships, but due to the blockage of the Suez canal as a result of the grounding of the cargo ship, the Spanish administration has given orders that no animal transport ships bound for Saudi Arabia and Jordan should be loaded until the canal can be navigated normally.”
Romanian agriculture and veterinary authorities have yet to comment.