Romania working to rescue more than 14,000 sheep aboard capsized cargo ship

The Palau-flagged ship overturned as it left Romania's Midia port
The Palau-flagged ship overturned as it left Romania's Midia port Copyright ISU Constanta
By Rachael Kennedy with AFP
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Romanian authorities managed to rescue all 21-person crew and 32 sheep after the vessel capsized on Sunday - but there are still more than 14,000 sheep on board.

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Romanian authorities are working to rescue more than 14,000 sheep aboard a ship that has capsized in the Black Sea.

The Queen Hind cargo vessel overturned on Sunday after departing from Romania's Midia port en route to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to Euronews on Monday, a spokeswoman for Romania's emergency service ISU Constanta said all of the crew — 20 Syrians and one Lebanese national — had been rescued along with 32 sheep.

She said the remaining animals were still aboard the capsized vessel and that attempts to rescue and "put the ship back on its position" would continue on Monday.

"We expect it to take the whole day," the spokeswoman told Euronews in a phonecall. "There are three other ships that are trying to help put the ship back on course."

ISU Constanta

Romania is the EU's third-largest sheep breeder of which it transports much of its livestock to countries in the Middle East.

But such trade using ships has been widely criticised due to dangerous hot conditions on the vessels during the summer, which have been nicknamed "death ships" by activists.

The former EU commissioner for health and food safety called for an investigation into Romania's livestock trading earlier this year, and said transport of tens of thousands of sheep to the Gulf region should cease.

The footage in the video player above was released by Australian organisation Animals International that has investigators in the area.

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