Live Animal Export: Rescue of survivors restarted three days after ship capsizes

“If these passengers wore school uniforms instead of wool …” Dr Lynn Simpson is not letting up in her condemnation of Sunday’s latest livestock carrier tragedy.

Last night footage was released of the surviving trapped sheep inside the capsized Queen Hind. It has taken three days and overwhelming global public outcry, condemnation and appeals to force and shame authorities into action.

Tragic does not begin to describe the scenes.

If these passengers wore school uniforms instead of wool there would have been immediate non-stop action- and a more positive result.

However, if they wore school uniforms they would not have been allowed onboard in the first place. Why is it ok for animals and crew to sail on these life-scavenging vessels?

Working in any ship is dangerous, more so when they are in an emergency situation like this. The fact that she was inside the protective barriers of the ports sea walls, in calm water and had already sunk as far as was possible should have meant the rescue operation proceeded quickly.

The images from inside the capsized vessel have confirmed the concerns all seafarers have when sailing in rough weather. What if the angle of the vessel changes dramatically, 90 or 180 degrees? How do I get out? Can I get out? Often the answer is with great difficulty, or no. But we chose to join these ships, the animals do not.

Escaping a ship in an emergency is frightening and difficult enough for people with agility, two arms, two hands and two feet. But what if you’re a four legged, less agile, ‘sailor’?

You are screwed.

The helplessness and vulnerability of these animals at sea is surely reason enough to keep them on land.

I hope the global shipping authorities, including the IMO and ILO are watching this scenario closely and learning from it. This is one of the most avoidable maritime tragedies there is.

72 hours after these animals were plunged into the cold waters of Midia port, slammed against railings and had their last meal or drink of water, help is arriving. Only after global pressure from horrified and disgusted public and NGO’s. 150 sheep have been rescued in the last 10 hours. Imagine if this were a cruise liner. 150 passengers saved, and all would probably sue the operator for negligence in leaving them in a submerged coffin for days before acting.

All surviving sheep are finally being given the care and provisions the law and society insists is due.

This disaster could have been mitigated, greed stymied, lives preserved and lives saved. The world needs to learn from this and decide just how evolved are we as a species if we think continuing to take these unnecessary risks is acceptable?

Meanwhile, the Julia LS has arrived in Romania to try her luck with authorities there after being denied permission to load in Portugal. Her specifications are similar to the Queen Hind. Lets hope (or write and question prime minister Ordan directly on the Romanian authorities think carefully before granting permission to load her while the stark reminder of a rescue operation and the protruding lower hull of the Queen Hind stare them in the face only metres away.

The world is watching for the next move. Most, like me are hoping that the scrap yards around the world will soon be overflowing with these life-scavenging ships of shame when either the authorities come to their senses or the new IMO regulations ‘drive’ them up a beach.

Here’s hoping the Queen Hind leaves port as millions of pieces of scrap metal.

Phasing out live animal exports and replacing the trade with meat products sent in refrigerated containers is the only answer.

For Lynn Simpson’s full archive of shocking exposés into the livestock trades, click here.


Splash is Asia Shipping Media’s flagship title offering timely, informed and global news from the maritime industry 24/7.


  1. I am SO angry about the horrors and barbarism of Live Export. Cruelty and greed at its most base .

Back to top button