NGOs highlight maritime safety risks linked to aging livestock farmers
Three European NGOs have published a comprehensive review of the fleet of 78 EU licensed livestock transporters. With an average age of 41, these ships pose an above-average safety risk, according to the Animal Welfare Foundation, Tierschutzbund Zürich and Robin des Bois.
The authors of the report found that only five of the 78 vessels certified by the EU were specially designed for transporting live animals. The rest all started their commercial life as container ships, ferries or freighters – and most were at the end of their commercial life before their conversion. A handful were already over 40 years old.
“The global average age for shipbreaking is 30 years old. However, the vessels assessed were already 29 years old on average when they were converted to EU approved livestock carriers. They already had a ship’s life behind them, “the groups wrote in their report.
53 of the vessels have been detained on multiple occasions by the Paris MoU port state control, and the majority of the fleet is registered under a Paris MoU blacklist flag, this which indicates high risk. Togo’s privatized open ledger, ranked third at the bottom of the blacklist, is the most popular flag service option for the group. More than two thirds of the vessels are classified by non-IACS classification societies.
Given these systemic concerns, NGOs have argued that the European Commission is not doing enough to regulate livestock carriers that call at EU ports.
“This new study proves once again that exporting live animals is not a correct practice vis-à-vis animals, humans and the environment. The only solution is to revise [EU transport regulations] minimize the unnecessary suffering involved in living transport. With our No Animal Left Behind campaign, we call on the Commission to ban the export of live animals to third countries and intra-EU long-distance travel, and to set specific species and category requirements for travel remaining, ”said Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.