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Ship With 15K Sheep Overturns

Only 32 have been rescued, authorities say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2019 2:12 AM CST

(Newser) – After a cargo ship carrying almost 15,000 sheep overturned off the coast of Romania on Sunday, authorities said all 22 crew members had been rescued—but only 32 sheep. The Queen Hind, which was bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a cargo of around 14,600 live sheep, overturned soon after leaving the Romanian port of Constanta, the BBC reports. Authorities say they plan to right the ship and bring it back to port—and they hope the sheep in the ship's hold have survived. A few sheep were rescued from the water, although experts say that with their long fleece, survivors would have been unable to swim for long. It's not clear why the ship overturned, but there have been allegations that it was overloaded.

Mary Pana, president of Romania's main livestock breeder association, called for an investigation, AFP reports. "If we cannot protect livestock during long-distance transports, we should outright ban them," she said. Keith Belk from the animal science department at Colorado State University tells the New York Times that such disasters are rare and the international livestock shipping industry has improved standards after some well-publicized incidents. "I know that despite there not being any international standard that I'm aware of, there’s been significant emphasis placed on how the animals are handled in the shipping systems," he says. (Australia improved standards after a whistleblower released disturbing footage from a sheep-laden ship.)

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