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Cape Town Residents Complain of "Strong Smell" After Live Export Ship Docks

Livestock carrier
Al Kuwait arrived with 19,000 head of cattle aboard (NSPCA)

Published Feb 19, 2024 4:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Animal rights groups demanded access to inspect a live export carrier after the vessel docked in Cape Town on Sunday. They were responding to reports from residents across the city who took to social media to complain of a strong smell and “unbearable odor,” so strong that offices reportedly let workers leave early.

Media reports said the initial reports suspected the municipal sewer system with the reports coming from far and wide across the city and reaching far beyond the harbor area. The focus however quickly became the Al Kuwait, a 16,000 dwt livestock carrier registered in Kuwait. The vessel, which was built in 2016, reportedly has 19,000 head of cattle aboard loaded in Brazil in early February. 

The vessel has been at sea for eight days and put into Cape Town on a planned replenishment call. Reports are the ship is loading fuel, water, food for the crew, animal supplies, and medication for the crew and the animals. 

The complaints became so widespread that the local government wrote on social media “The City of Cape Town is aware of the smell. It is emanating from a ship in the harbor. Transnet is attending to the issue.”

 

 

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA reports it went to court and got an emergency order to inspect the ship. They wrote in a statement that the ship initially refused its request to board but that the Sea Border South African Police Service assisted and they went aboard the vessel starting at 22:00 on Sunday for an inspection. The National Council of SPCAs reported they were working with the cooperation of the captain to assess the welfare of the animals.

“We acknowledge the concerns raised by members of the public regarding the noticeable stench emanating from the ship, reaching the city center and surrounds. This smell is indicative of the awful conditions the animals endure, having already spent 2½ weeks on board,” NSPCA wrote in its statement.

The group said the Cape of Good Hope SPCA “pulled out all the stops” to assist with the inspection, which is still ongoing. They expect the ship will depart on Wednesday for Iraq.

The National Council notes that it has been “in and out of the High Court on numerous occasions since 2019,” in its fight to stop live export. Both groups said the inspections and efforts would continue to ensure the welfare of the cattle on board until the ship leaves.

“Concerns relating to inadequate hygiene and veterinary care are apparent,” wrote the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. “We will not hesitate to prosecute if this becomes necessary.”