Suez Canal: Animal catastrophe. Live sheep ‘stuck’ at risk of mass death

The economic disaster caused by ss Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal may have a more disastrous toll.  

Thousands of animals, warehoused in container ships stuck in the Suez Canal, may die if the Canal is not opened soon. These animals are packed in close quarters and must be undergoing terrible suffering.

Deutsche Welle 3.28.2021

Suez Canal authorities were optimistic that Sunday’s high tide would help refloat the Ever Given freighter as animal advocates raised concerns for sheep stuck on some 20 livestock ships in the logjam.

Authorities have been working to free the giant vessel since Tuesday, when it ran aground in the canal and blocked the crucial shipping route in both directions.

Evergreen Suez I 3.27.2021

Animals International announced that thousands of animals — mostly sheep on 13 vessels from Romania — were at risk of dying if the channel did not reopen in the “next 24 hours.”

“We are sitting in front of a major tragedy,” said Gabriel Paul of the nongovernmental group, forecasting that delayed livestock carriers, including vessels from Spain, could run out of water and fodder.

On Friday, Britain’s Guardian newspaper cited the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic as identifying three livestock carriers “stuck at various points in the canal.”

At both ends or headed for Suez were at least 20 such carriers, the Guardian reported. Animals International urged nations to call their respective livestock ships back.

On Thursday, Spain had given orders that no animal ships bound for Saudi Arabia and Jordan be loaded, the Guardian reported.

Romanian veterinary authorities said they had assurances from transport firms that their livestock ships had enough fodder and water “for the coming days.”

Evergreen Suez (Sheep) XII  3.27.2021.jpg

Egypt’s Agriculture Ministry was quoted by the state-run Al-Ahram website as reporting that veterinary teams had been sent to livestock stuck offshore.

Salvage experts, equipped with 12 tugs, were pinning hopes on a high tide to refloat the vessel, which is wedged diagonally and blocking the waterway to more than 300 ships waiting at both ends.

Shipping lines, however, had already decided to reroute other vessels around southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade said.

On Sunday, the French shipper CMS-CGM announced that two of its Asia-bound vessels were rerouted and it was considering air and rail alternatives for some clients.