PortandTerminal.com, November 6, 2020
The world was horrified last September this year when a livestock carrier sank during rough weather off the coast of Japan. Lost were 41 of 43 crew – only two men were rescued. Almost 6,000 cattle drowned in the incident.
A year ago in November, we reported on a similar, horrific incident. The livestock carrier QUEEN HIND with 14,600 sheep on board developed a list, capsized and sank in Midia Port, Romania. All but 32 of the 14,600 animals on board drowned.
The fact is, neither of these two incidents are isolated cases. Cargo vessels carrying livestock are at least twice as likely to be lost by sinking or grounding compared to ships containing just about anything else, The Guardian reports in a new investigation.
These rates—3 percent risk of “total loss” for freighters carrying more than 100 tons of animals, compared to less than 1 percent among equivalent container ships—were based on a decade’s worth of data and calculated 60 deaths among crews and tens of thousands in livestock.
Why? Ships used to move animals are generally older and have been converted from other types of carriers that weren’t designed to carry moving cargo, which can get distressed during inclement weather. Animal waste byproducts also tend to corrode the ship’s steel, further eroding their integrity.
After the sinking of the ship carrying cattle in September, New Zealand, the country from which the vessel started its voyage, imposed a temporary ban on the transport of live animals.
That suspension expired on Oct. 23, but a conditional ban is in place until Nov. 30, during which time New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can livestock exports by sea subject to the new conditions.
The conditions include additional inspection of livestock ships, lowering stock density on vessels to 90% of current limits to match new Australian standards, increased requirements for voyage reporting and ensuring at least 20% of feed is available for unplanned delays.
Though international maritime organizations haven’t addressed the issue, an expert in animal law and policy said: “That assessment should recognize that the transport of chilled and frozen meat is the way that nearly all meat travels in commerce today. The idea of sending live animals is a holdover from a bygone era.”
“The idea of sending live animals is a holdover from a bygone era”
Though international maritime organizations though haven’t addressed the issue, an expert in animal law and policy said: “That assessment should recognize that the transport of chilled and frozen meat is the way that nearly all meat travels in commerce today. The idea of sending live animals is a holdover from a bygone era.”
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