The worst maritime animal welfare tragedy in history is now “unavoidable” after the week-long shutdown of the Suez Canal — as the crew of the stuck ship face criminal charges.
Even with the Ever Given now moving again, 200,000 live animals are trapped inside extremely hot cargo containers.
Despite many of them facing the slaughterhouses at their destination, the containers they are travelling in are quickly running out of feed and water — meaning the animals are facing a slow and painful death.
Gabrile Păun, the EU director for Animals International, said that even though the ships are moving, the water and food would not last until their sea journey is over.
“A ship that left Romania on 16 March was scheduled to arrive in Jordan on 23 March, but instead it would now reach port on 1 April at the earliest. That is a nine-day delay. Even if the ship had the required 25 per cent additional animal feed, it would only have lasted for 1.5 days”, he told EU Observer.
Meanwhile, the fallout of the calamity continues as investigators are to place the captain and crew of the container ship which blocked the crucial trade route under house arrest, it is claimed.
Union officials fear that the 25 seamen will be “scapegoats” for the chaos which halted international trade though the vital waterway for six days.
Ever Given, which was wedged across the canal after running aground, is now being inspected after being freed by tugs.
The crew are expected to be seized by Egyptian maritime officials.
The government and seafarers’ organisations in India, where the men are from, fear they could face lengthy jail sentences.
It was suggested a sandstorm had blown the ship off course but canal chiefs said they were looking at the possibility of “human error”.
The blockage is said to have cost more than billions of dollars to world trade.
But fears that it could take weeks to refloat the behemoth proved unfounded.
Six days into the crisis, after major operations involving a flotilla of tug boats and excavators dredging up sand, the Japanese-owned MV Ever Given was freed and taken to an unobtrusive anchorage.
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority was quick to claim credit.
“Anywhere else in the world, this operation would have taken three months,” boasted canal chief Osama Rabie, adding that “99 per cent” of personnel working at the scene had been Egyptian.
Visibly relieved, he said he had been told by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi that “the reputation of Egypt rested on my shoulders”.
Sisi, who deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, spent over $8 billion to widen and add a 35km second lane on a northern segment of the canal amid much pomp six years ago.