In July 2016, it was the Al Messilah. In August 2017, it was the Awassi Express. Both carrying sheep from Fremantle winter to the Middle East summer. Both voyages with discrepant numbers. Both voyages catastrophic due to heat stress: 3.76-3.79% on the Awassi, 2.51-4.36% on the Al Messilah (depending on which government version is chosen). The cause: extreme temperatures and humidity…what a surprise.
The Department of Ag's investigation report for the Awassi Express makes sobering reading. Sheep experienced moderate to severe heat stress from Day 5 to Day 21 (16 relentless days). The graphs show that wet bulb temperatures were essentially >31ºC from Day 14 to Day 20 and on Day 18 (ie after 13 days of continuous heat stress), the wet bulb temperature reached a shocking 37ºC. The report states “individual animals identified as heat affected or bogged were removed into alleyways near ventilators”. Yep that's right, animals struggling to survive in critical conditions then had to deal with getting bogged. The report even describes why this happens. But sure, we care about animal welfare.
No amount of space can save animals on these ships in the extreme conditions of the Middle East, conditions that are already worsening with climate change. The only thing that would save them is reverse cycle air-conditioning (and that’s certainly not going to happen). These voyages to the ME summer have to stop…see VALE’s submission to ASEL.