Author Topic: Ever wondered about the dead animals on the ships?  (Read 1540 times)

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Ever wondered about the dead animals on the ships?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 06:06:32 PM »
Extracts from Ship Nostalgia and people who worked on the ships...

Deadstock was literally stacked on deck in "void" areas. This was also the case down in OZ or Kiwi when loading. As soon as you were back in International waters a long skewer was used to puncture the major organs on each carcass to prevent them from bloating up and washing ashore. Had to have a pretty strong stomach at times.

Injured and sick animals were to be dispatched with a humane killer but them damn sheep skulls are hard and many a thumb was broken or disclocated so a Hilti gun and an old coat hanger was often used.

I worked for two years on the design of a purpose built livestock carrier, unheard of I guess, and disposing of mortality was a big issue. My design had a below decks flensing unit with boilers, renderers and freeze driers. The
by-product would be skins, oil, and bagged bone meal. Plus capture and process all animal waste for fertilizer (3,500 tons per voyage)

We had a large mincing machine called the HOGGER, below which was the HOGGER TANK, basically chuck a dead carcass in, it was "minced "into small peices, tank held about 400 liquid animals, when we got clear of the gulf open the valve and a black mess went into the oggin.

I have watched sheep and cattle being loaded onto the rusty crap heaps which will take the poor little buggers to a death we just cannot imagine--all in the name of greed and money. The LIVE TRADE SHOULD BE BANNED NOW!

We carried 3000 sheep on deck from Freemantle to Singapore - the vessel was a General cargo ship with derricks.
Shepherds were suppsed to be employed but the voyage was made without them. The cadets, 4 of us, worked 12 hour shifts watering feeding and generally patrolling for the well being of the sheep.

We looked after them the best we could but I am sure some of them did not get enough food or water. We did the best we could but it was not a perfect passage. I remember having to put overboard 1 or 2 when they died.

I can still see them now.

For my sins I was sent, as 2/O in May 1979, to join the "Farid Fares" which ended her days ablaze somewhere in the Indian Ocean. She was a 5 hatch midships accomodation cargo liner originally called the "Lions Gate" I think she was Swedish built around 1957 and was on her way to be scrapped when she was bought and converted into a sheep carrier.

The whole business of transporting the sheep was not for the faint hearted. It could take up to 4 days to load the 45,000 sheep into pens that were average about 20' x 20', some much bigger and some much smaller. The pens were about 3'6" in height and floored with fiberglass. Each set of pens could be connected by portable 'bridges' to allow the ship to cross from one set of pens to another. The shepherds came from Pakistan and were skilled at sheep handling and being able to get them to go where we wanted.

About 2/3rds of the sheep were below deck with the rest above deck. Below decks ventilation was provided by large fans, those above deck relied on any passing breeze. On loading the sheep were fed dried grass pellets and water which had to be manhandled to the troughs that were attached to the bars of the pens. The stronger or more wiley sheep would stay by the troughs throughout the entire voyage.

The sheep stood the whole way. Any that lay down or that had fallen were in danger of being trampled upon. The sheep's waste eventually dried and allowed a softer and usually less slippery surface to stand on. The head stockman was from Argentina, a very plesent chap called Carlos whose job it was to go round every day with a long pole and poke any sheep that were not standing and if they didn't get up they had usually died. The sheep would usually start to die after day 4 or 5 of our 15 day voyage from Fremantle to Bandhar Khomaine(?) ex Shapur). The number of deaths usually peaked about day 12 and it was common on this particular ship to loose about 4,000 each voyage.

The media do have to sell copy so they will hype up their case. When I was on the "Farid Fares" we discharged the sheep on to a large wooden jetty where the receiver had made a compound with crowd control barriers. The compound held about 2000 sheep and when full a local chap would come along with another sheep, probably female, on a rope leash. The sheep in the compound noticed the other lone sheep and would follow it wherever the handler was going. I followed the herd of sheep one time to see what the next stage was. They were taken through a small built up area and into concrete holding areas where they would eventually be slaughtered. Any sheep that were unable to walk, either lame or blind, were taken to the holding area by truck. At the end of discharge the shore crowd would slaughter the infirm sheep on the jetty. I will not describe this as it is not pleasant to our western culture but perfectly normal to their culture.

The conditions for the sheep on the livestock carrier I sailed on were harsh. They were supposed to be sheared prior to loading in Australia and more often than not still had a good fleece which was disappointing as it was summer in the northern hemisphere and especially hot in the Persian Gulf. Being crammed into pens for as long as 20 days with constant artifical light would not be tolerated for road transport. Upon saying this however, some of the conditions I witnessed in the shore facility were worse. We at least had some compassion and did what little we could to ease their plight. Refrigeration is the answer. It was said to us that for every live sheep we could have carried 3 dead ones, frozen and not butchured. It was also rumoured that there was $90Aus per head difference between the bought and sold price. This would allow for a higher death rate when in transit. If there was less profit per head more of an effort might have been made to keep the sheep alive which would probably have meant less sheep per voyage and less profit. The only way to carry animals such as sheep, goats, cattle etc is on specially designed vessels and not ones that were altered.

The "Danny F" was a converted oil tanker with the forward section cut away and all the sheep were on pens above deck. Their death rate was not as great as ours and by all accounts the ship was eaiser in every respect. The pens above deck on the "Farid Fares" were well above bridge level aft of the accomodation and level with the bridge forward. When in ballast condition we couldn't see straight ahead.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 02:13:19 AM by WA Export News »