Spain has ordered the slaughter of the 1,610 cattle which have been on livestock ship Elbeik (IMO 6718427) since December 2020. The move comes only a couple of weeks after more than 850 cattle on livestock ship Karim Allah met a similar fate.
Spain’s agriculture ministry said that the animals, which left Spain in December, but, never found a place to disembark, were unfit for further travel and could not be re-imported into the EU. That meant they had to be isolated and killed in the coming days.
A combination of bureaucratic confusion, fears of bovine bluetongue among the cattle and then fears of Covid-19 among the crew, had all served to turn the vessels into unwanted guests at any port in the Mediterranean after Turkish authorities rejected the animals and another 850 Spanish cattle aboard the Karim Allah.
The Spanish insisted that the animals had been infection-free when they left Spain, but did not want to take them back. Neither did the buyers want to return them. Instead they sought, fruitlessly, to find another purchaser for their cargo.
In February the Karim Allah gave up and returned to Cartagena. The Elbeik, whose owner continued for longer to insist that an alternative buyer might be found, finally docked in Cartagena last week.
A report said to be from Spanish government veterinarians was uploaded to the web site of animal-rights group Igualdad Animal. That report, whose authenticity has not been officially confirmed by Spain’s Agriculture Ministry, said 179 cows on the Elbeik had died during the journey, and that their corpses had been thrown overboard.
The report said that some of the remaining animals were malnourished and dehydrated, while others were barely conscious after being placed in crowded pens, without room to lie down, for what initially had been intended to be a journey of only a few days.
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.