AL SHUWAIK IN 1978 AND 1988
The Al Shuwaik came into the news when it loaded a consignment of sheep at East
London bound for Kuwait in the Middle East. The NSPCA’s hard fought efforts to
stop the consignment from leaving …..
The Al Shuwaik was launched in 1986 and transported two consignments of New
Zealand sheep to the Middle East in July 1987 and July 1988 with mortalities of 8834
(6.46%) and 3855 (2.72%). At that time the vessel seems to have had a capacity for
140 000 sheep. There was a New Zealand Government veterinarian on the vessel
with each consignment. Both consignments; mortalities were disasters
notwithstanding the presence of a veterinarian on each trip. After those two
consignments the vessel was not again chartered to ship New Zealand
consignments during the rest of that 15 year period that New Zealand exported
sheep by ship ending November 1998.
At the vessel;s discharge of its first New Zealand consignment in 1987 there were
1921 carcases on board. The enormous mortality figure of 1921 was an indication of
the heat stress that the animals suffered while crossing the equator and passing
through the Red Sea or Persian Gulf. The reasons given were “inadequate
ventilation” and “high temperatures.”
I have to mention that in any case it would be difficult for a veterinarian on board
such a vessel to be able to monitor the correctness of mortality figures of sheep
carcases thrown overboard both sides of a vessel;s nine decks while at sea.
The vessel’s early history is the reason why I am sceptical about the its recent
reported mortalities of 210 (0.302%), 327 (0.462%), 189 (0.270%), and 154 (0.230%)
of only four consignments between December 2018 and April 2019, although it is
noticed that these consignments; total figures were only approximately 70 000 sheep
each and not 140 000 as in the beginning. However, the correctness of mortality
figures cannot be audited.