The animals died trapped inside a ship carrying them to Saudi Arabia, which sank a few minutes after setting sail.
The live export of animals has led to another tragedy. Over 15,000 sheep have drowned in the Sudanese port of Suakin, on the Red Sea, after the ship transporting them to Saudi Arabia sank.
Although the reasons for the shipwreck have not yet been confirmed, the media has reported that the ship may have set sail carrying well above its maximum load of animals.
Witnesses have reported that minutes after setting sail, the ship tilted 45 degrees and gradually sank. The eight crew members were rescued but the majority of the animals on board did not survive.
The ship was bound for the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, a major importer of live lambs and sheep destined to be slaughtered for their meat upon arrival.
According to a Sudanese port official, the ship “was carrying 15,800 sheep.” The official said all crew members were rescued, however, this incident will have several economic and environmental consequences. In his statement, he outlined that the sunken ship will “likely have an environmental impact due to the death of the large number of animals carried by the ship”.
The livestock on the ship was valued at approximately $3.7M said Saleh Selim, the head of the association’s livestock division, as he called for an investigation into the accident. The port is already under investigation following a fire that blazed for several hours, and caused damage in the cargo area, earlier this month.
Omar Al-Khalifa, head of the national exporters’ association, said that the ship did not sink quickly. In fact, the ship took several hours to sink at the pier, meaning there was a window that suggested it “could have been rescued”. The animals were loaded on the vessel at the port of Suakin
The News Agency, AFP, posted this update following the tragedy:
Yet Another Tragedy
This tragedy is not the first. In 2021, 895 calves died after being trapped onboard a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship had originally departed from a Spanish port on its way to Turkey, but it was rejected at the port.
As a result, the ship stayed at sea for two and a half months. Some of the calves died onboard, while the 864 survivors were slaughtered at the dock of the Port of Escombreras in Spain.
Every year, more than two billion animals are forced to travel long distances. When transported by sea, they often travel in hot and overcrowded conditions in old ships that are not designed to transport live animals.
The safety of these ships has long been in question. According to a recent study carried out by the organisations Robin des Bois, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the Tierschutzbund Zürich, live transport ships are the most dangerous in the world. At an average of 41 years old, they are too old and not fit for purpose.
Thousands of animals die during the journeys and many are thrown overboard, with their bodies occasionally washing up on beaches.
Other animals are transported by road. In 2021, Animal Equality investigated the live transport of sheep across Europe. Every year, millions of lambs are slaughtered in Italy after being forced to endure hellish journeys of up to 1,200 miles from other European countries like Hungary and Romania.
The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.