Romania: Secret decks found on ship that capsized killing thousands of sheep.

WAV Comment – we are covering a lot at the moment re live exports.  This is not current news but goes back to November 2019 when the ‘Queen Hind’ sank shortly after leaving the port of Midia in Romania; allegedly carrying 14,600 destined for slaughter in Saudi Arabia.

For information; it would appear that several secret decks were found on the vessel during attempts at salvage; and that in fact, many more sheep had been carried to those declared officially.  Naturally, Romania has denied this, and the EU being the EU, has dragged its heels in every respect with regard to getting official information about this.

The only information to emerge since the sinking has been the discovery of secret compartments onboard with dead animals inside, by the company hired to remove the ship from the water.

Read more at:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/27/romania-accused-of-silence-over-ship-that-capsized-killing-14000-sheep

 

 

We have no faith in the Romanian system or what its government says.  They are certainly not the best animal welfare nation on the planet.  With our experience in live animal transport, we would have no surprise whatsoever that additional (secret) decks were fitted into the vessel; simply to increase numbers and to obtain more profit.  Was overloading due to the secret decks the reason that the Queen Hind capsized shortly after leaving Midia, we ask ?

Have a read of the information and links to that we have supplied below.  If we ever witness the EU taking action against Romania regarding this incident then it could be considered progress.  When everyone keeps quiet and ‘below deck’ about the realities, it could be said that there is a cover up.  Please read the info and make your own decisions.

Despite promises from the Romanian government that the results of the capsize will be published on the Ministry website; our search today (24/2/21) has still revealed nothing.

Regards Mark

Extra Decks Found on Capsized Livestock Carrier

 

Secret decks found on ship that capsized killing thousands of sheep

Discovery by salvage divers off Romania raises new questions over EU exports of live animals

Secret decks for extra animals have been found in a livestock carrier that sank off the Romanian port of Midia in November drowning thousands of sheep, according to the company carrying out the massive salvage operation.

Only 180 sheep survived out of the 14,600 initially believed to have been onboard the Queen Hind, which was carrying them from Romania, the EU’s biggest exporter of the animal, to Saudi Arabia.

But the revelations about secret decks are likely to increase the death toll by several thousands, and raise fresh questions on whether overloading was to blame for the capsize.

The vessel was left on its side in the water as it sank not far from port, with sheep corpses piling up around it. Images of the tragedy made headlines worldwide and led to renewed calls by animal activists to impose a ban on live exports from Europe to non-EU countries, particularly the Middle East and north Africa.

The Romanian national daily Adevărul reported on Sunday that the firm that won the auction to bring the vessel to shore, Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP Offshore), made its first attempt on Saturday but operations were halted after the crane’s cables were unable to bear the load.

Gabriel Comănescu, GSP’s president, was quoted by Adevărul as saying that “during the operation, the divers entered the water, [and] found additional decks.

These additional decks also have animals on board”.

Comănescu added: “There are decks not included in the cargo plan, they are undeclared. It is the problem of the authorities to find out why they were loaded and why they were not included in the cargo plan. It’s a big question. There is a much larger load than over 14,000 sheep.”

Gabriel Paun, of Animals International, said the revelation “confirms our initial suspicion that the vessel capsized because of overloading”. He added: “We are outraged that this came out from the company bringing the vessel back to the shore and not from the Romanian government itself.”

Animals International said it will file complaints to the EU commission and the Romanian prosecutor’s anti-corruption department.

“[GSP] came with the right equipment last week and they tried to lift it up with a crane and bring it to the shore,” Paun said. “They had calculated that the ship was full of water and animals, so they were prepared to lift more [weight] but still the cables broke.”

He had been told that the head of the company had sent down divers to investigate, and discovered secret decks loaded with thousands of animals.

Brian da Cal, UK director at the animal welfare organisation Four Paws, said he feared that the death of thousands of sheep could have been avoided.

“The allegations regarding hidden decks on the ship are of huge concern and strengthens our calls for an outright ban of long-distance transports of live animals and a maximum of eight hours transportation duration. No matter how strict the rules may be and how tragic this accident is, mass deaths like this are becoming more common.”

He said Four Paws was able to rescue 254 sheep from the half-sunken ship but several died later of exhaustion and injuries – 180 survived and are now being kept in a location north of Bucharest.

Paun said: “We’re saying that Romanian authorities are not to be trusted because this vessel has been inspected by the Romanian government [and] they’ve missed the extra decks which were not in the cargo plan.”

Paun said Romania exports about 3 million sheep annually. European live animal exports rose from a value of $1bn (£800m) in 2000 to $3.3bn in 2018.

An official from the Romanian national veterinary and food safety authority, in comments carried by Adevărul, appeared to dismiss the allegations and said the vessel was heavier because “dead sheep do not have the same weight as the live ones”.

A border police spokesman also dismissed the story as speculation.

The Guardian has contacted MGM Marine Shipping, the management company behind the Queen Hind, for comment. The Romanian embassy was also approached.

Secret decks found on ship that capsized killing thousands of sheep | Romania | The Guardian

More…

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/extra-decks-found-on-capsized-livestock-carrier

Extra Decks Found on Capsized Livestock Carrier

Salvors working on the capsized livestock carrier Queen Hind claim they have found extra decks on the vessel.

The Palau-flagged Queen Hind capsized shortly after departing the Port of Midia in Romania on November 24 last year. While the crew escaped safely, only 180 of 14,600 sheep were saved. Salvors Grup Servizi Petroliere (GSP) claim that there could have been more sheep lost, as divers found that the extra decks had animals on board.

Divers were sent to investigate after cranes were unable to lift the vessel as planned. Cables snapped under the extra weight which could mean that several thousand more sheep were onboard than previously reported. The salvors claim the extra decks were not documented on the cargo loading plan.

The claim that extra sheep were on board has been disputed. Local media reports cite an official saying that the salvors may not have accounted for the extra weight of water-logged sheep; the salvors dispute this. Additionally, it has been noted that exact counts of sheep are not made at boarding.

The Guardian reports Gabriel Paun, a spokesperson for Animals International, saying the vessel was suspected to have capsized due to overloading. Animals International plans to make a formal complaint to the European Commission about the case.

https://safety4sea.com/secret-decks-found-on-capsized-livestock-carrier-off-romania/

Secret decks found on capsized livestock carrier off Romania

 

More than two months after the livestock carrier ‘Queen Hind’ capsized and sank off Romania taking down over 14,o00 sheep, the company tasked with the ship salvage has discovered secret decks that could accommodate a higher number of animals. This has created allegations that the sheep death toll was higher than thought.

Casualties | 05/02/20

The livestock carrier was heading from Romania to Saudi Arabia, when it overturned just off Midia Port, Romania, on 24 November, with approximately 14,600 sheep and 22 crew members onboard. The crew was saved but only 180 sheep survived.

However, the recent revelations by the salvage company on extra decks are likely to increase the death toll by several thousands, and raise fresh questions on whether overloading was to blame for the capsize, The Guardian reports.

In particular, the salvage firm Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP Offshore), halted operations Saturday, after the crane’s cables were unable to bear the load, the Romanian national daily Adevărul reported.

As such, the divers entered the water and found additional decks, which also had animals onboard, Gabriel Comănescu, GSP’s president, was quoted as saying.

There are decks not included in the cargo plan, they are undeclared. It is the problem of the authorities to find out why they were loaded and why they were not included in the cargo plan. It’s a big question. There is a much larger load than over 14,000 sheep,

…he stressed.

Meanwhile, this news re-surges initial suspicions that the incident occurred due to overloading.

In light of this, animal welfare organization Animals International said it will file complaints to the EU commission and the Romanian prosecutor’s anti-corruption department.

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