Romanian salvage teams raise wreck of capsized sheep carrier

Photo: Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, Constanța

A livestock carrier that had capsized off the coast of Romania while transporting over 14,000 sheep has finally been raised three months after the incident.

Local company Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) carried out salvage operations on the wreck of the Palau-flagged Queen Hind, which had ended up on its side a few hundred metres off the city of Constanța on November 24, 2019.

GSP deployed two crane vessels and teams of divers working in shifts when it began salvage work on February 1. However, the work had to be temporarily halted as the cables on one of the crane vessels broke while attempting to raise the wreck.

Queen Hind was finally raised on the evening (local time) of Tuesday, February 25. Subsequently, the sheep that had drowned and that were still on board the vessel were loaded into special containers and brought to Tulcea for disposal via incinerator.

Although all of the vessel’s 22 crew were safely rescued, only 180 out of the estimated 14,600 sheep it was carrying at the time survived the capsizing.

Local marine accident investigators assert that overloading was to blame for the incident.

The investigators said that, in order to evade inspections by customs officials, some of the live cargo on the vessel had been placed in secret decks capable of housing thousands of animals. These decks were said to have been deliberately omitted from the vessel’s cargo plan.

Queen Hind reportedly ended up carrying cargo that was nearly double its rated maximum capacity, causing it to list heavily to starboard and capsize shortly after it left the Port of Midia in Constanța on November 24.

The vessel had originally been scheduled to transport the sheep to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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