An animal welfare tragedy and a “biohazard time bomb” are feared in the Suez Canal. 200,000 creatures fear being trapped behind the stranded ship Ever Given.
It is believed that around 20 cattle-carrying ships have been behind the gigantic, battered ship Ever Given since it ran aground last week.
Animal rights groups now fear that the cattle caught will get stuck in blistered freight containers while the food and water reserves are slowly running out.
On Facebook Gabriel Paun, European Director of Animals International, described the blockade as a tragedy.
He said, “It’s just another incident that shows that regardless of your contingency plan, tragedies can keep falling as long as we don’t replace exports of live animals with exports of chilled and frozen meat”
The group is said to have counted at least 18 such ships that have left Romania, Spain and South America and are now in the queue.
Many should probably carry sheep, said Gabriel Paun. The animals are believed to be difficult to unload to nearby countries due to health regulations or trade agreements, he added.
Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for Animals International said the guard : “My greatest fear is that the animals will run out of food and water and get stuck on the ships because they cannot be dumped elsewhere due to paperwork.
“Staying on board means that there is a risk [for the animals] from starvation, dehydration, injuries, waste build-up so they can’t lie down, and the crew can’t get rid of dead carcasses in the air either [Suez] Channel.
“It’s basically a ticking biohazard time bomb for animals, the crew and everyone involved.”
Desperate rescue efforts for the affected ship continue in the blocked Suez Canal after the massive container ship got stuck.
Dredgers are working to remove parts of the canal bank and extend dredging near the ship’s bow to a depth of 18 meters, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.
The 400-meter-long Ever Given was dammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in strong winds early Tuesday and stopped shipping traffic on the important waterway between Europe and Asia.
At least 369 ships are waiting to pass, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers, and liquefied petroleum gas or liquefied gas ships.