A ship loaded with 67,000 sheep bound for Qatar has been stranded for days at Port Adelaide in Australia after a mechanical failure.The sheep will be offloaded from the ship over the next 48 hours amid concerns from animal welfare groups, South Australia's Agriculture Minister Michael O'Brien said in comments published by the 9News website.The Al Messilah returned to Port Adelaide on Friday after mechanical failure, and the sheep remain on board.O'Brien admitted that some sheep have died, but the ventilation and watering systems on the Kuwaiti-flagged ship are still operational, and three Australian vets say the standard of welfare for the animals was extremely high, the website said.
The owners of the ship and the sheep are en route to Adelaide, but the vessel cannot be repaired without being drydocked, so the sheep will be offloaded, it was reported.
It will take three days to move the sheep to pens north of Adelaide, when they will become South Australia's responsibility - although the owner will have to foot the bills, 9News reported.They will be loaded onto another ship or slaughtered for domestic consumption.
The ship's breakdown comes amid controversy over live animal exports after images showing cruel treatment of cattle sent to Indonesia were broadcast on Australian TV.
RSPCA Australia chief executive Heather Neil said the incident highlighted the inherent risks in transporting animals over such vast distances by sea."Even if this ship was to depart today, these sheep face nearly a month on this vessel heading into the extremes of the Middle East summer," she said.Australia's parliament will vote later this week on bills to ban the live export trade, 9News added.
From / Arabian Business News