The saga of the two livestock carriers that departed Cartagena in Spain in December, but which have, for disputed reasons, been unable ever since to disembark their cargo, is showing no sign of coming to an immediate end.
The Elbeik (IMO 6718427) had been scheduled to arrive back at Cartagena on March 8th, but was continuing to search for a new destination where it could sell the animals that were still on board.
The ship apparently will not return to Spain until the fate of the animals on livestock carrier Karim Allah (IMO 6519144), which is currently docked in the port of Cartagena, is known. It was reported that the 864 cattle on the Karim Allah are to be slaughtered by order of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This was not for the same reason that the animals were refused permission to disembark in other Mediterranean ports (fear of a bovine bluetongue virus infection) as the Spanish authorities have insisted that the animals were in perfect condition when they left Spain in December 2020. Now, however, the official veterinary inspection has ruled that the condition of the animals on the Karim Allah, after two months on the ship, prevented them from undertaking a new trip to be exported, sold and slaughtered. The owners of the cargo do not agree with this assessment.
Lawyers for the Karim Allah were trying to avoid the slaughter of the animals, so that they could be transported and sold outside the EU.
The Elbeik currently remains next to the coast of the island of Crete, with the intention of loading food and straw for the animals. They had been off Cyprus, but had not been permitted to dock and it was reported as difficult for them to acquire good quality food.
More than 50 of the 1,776 animals originally dispatched from Spain have already died on board. The vessel left fully loaded, giving the animals little room to move. Their original planned time on board was a matter of a few days, rather than the two months that they have had to endure.
1967-built, Togo-flagged, 2,867 gt Elbeik is owned by Ibrahim Maritime Ltd care of manager Rana Maritime Services SA of Khaldeh, Lebanon.
1965-built, Lebanon-flagged, 2,587 gt Karim Allah is owned by Khalifeh Livestock TRD Co SARL care of manager Talia Shipping Line of Saida, Lebanon.