By Neelam Rahim
Officials said more than 15,000 sheep drowned on Sunday in Sudan’s Red Sea port of Suakin after a livestock ship sunk. The livestock vessel exported the animals from Sudan to Saudi Arabia when it sank.
The ship, Badr 1, sank during the early hours of Sunday morning,” carrying several thousand more animals than it was meant to take.
All the crew members aboard the vessel survived the calamity – but the number of dead animals could cause environmental problems for the port.
An Official raised concerns over the economic and environmental impact of the accident. “The sunken ship will affect the port’s operation,” the official said. “It will also likely have an environmental impact due to the death of the large number of animals carried by the ship.”
Omar al-Khalifa, president of the Sudanese Chamber of Exporters, said the ship took several hours to sink at the pier – a window that suggested it “could have been rescued”.
The total value of the lost livestock “is around 14 million Saudi riyals, the equivalent of four million dollars,” said Saleh Selim, the head of the association’s livestock division, also confirming that the sheep were loaded onto the vessel at Suakin port.
He said livestock owners recovered only around 700 sheep, “but they were found very ill, and we don’t expect them to live long.” Selim called for an investigation into the incident.