There’s an easy way to test this

Billion-dollar export trade puts lives of animals and crew at greater risk of ‘total loss’ through faulty design and inexperience

Ships carrying live animals are at least twice as likely to suffer a “total loss” from sinking or grounding as standard cargo vessels, the Guardian has found.

They’ve gone through the files of an insurance company to count losses of livestock vessels and non.

OK, cool. Now, there’s a much easier way of doing this. Go and ask the insurance company – or perhaps a Lloyd’s broker – for the premium rates to insure a livestock voyage and a non.

Prices are, after all, information…..

21 thoughts on “There’s an easy way to test this”

  1. Actually, it becomes clear from the article itself, the problem lies with converted ships that may well not be up to spec in “adverse circumstances”. Or for that matter, mild sailing conditions.

    Purpose-built ships don’t seem to have that problem, who’da thunk it….

  2. Why is live shipment still a thing? Refrigerated transport has existed for over a century, carcasses can be packed much more densely than live animals.

  3. jgh,

    I’d guess, just a wild guess mind you, that import duties on live animals in some places are sufficiently lower to make it worth while.

    Very likely there are also several regiments of prodnoses and inspectors to ensure the animals are kept alive in the destination country long enough to meet the requirements for reduced/free import duties, and there is a thriving organised criminal operation to get the animals to slaughter in a more cost effective time frame, under the noses of said bureaucrats.

    This is just a guess, mind you.

  4. I did find it odd last October arriving in Shetland by ferry to see about 12 sheep getting off ahead of me. I presume that someone was restocking their fields as it was out of show season.

  5. Another example of stats manipulation…

    “The same loss calculation for the global cargo fleet of about 61,000 ships over 100 GT, shows that 471 vessels within that tonnage (excluding tugs, dredgers, fishing and passenger vessels)”

    So what they have done is taken one high risk category (livestock vessels) and then taken the main marine fleet as a comparator for loss records. But they have stripped out most of the other high risk categories from the main marine fleet. At best shoddy work but seems more likely to be goal seeking.

    “The age of the world’s livestock carriers can also be a problem…. Kent estimated the livestock fleet’s average age at 36 years,”

    There is a technical underwriting term for commercial vessels this old ‘uninsurable’.

  6. jgh
    October 28, 2020 at 9:08 am
    Why is live shipment still a thing? Refrigerated transport has existed for over a century, carcasses can be packed much more densely than live animals.

    Because:

    – once the animal starts munching grass in its destination Country and has a night’s rest, it can be claimed to be a domestic product.

    – jobs, ‘standards’, value added… slaughter, packaging are done in-Country creating jobs that politicians yap on about, and the meat that lands on shop shelves is in compliance with Country standards.

    – consumers are encouraged to favour domestic produce as this is a virtuous, safe, patriotic thing do… and pay more for.

    – some animals are destined for ritual slaughter in some Countries, and that doesn’t work so well on carcasses.

    – in some Countries slaughter and processing has to be done according to religious practice. Kosher, Halal for example.

    None of this, in my view, excuses international livestock movement except for breeding stock.

  7. The default response to one of the Guardian’s hysterical exposés is always to look for where they’ve massaged the data. I suspect, in this case it’s the vessel size lower limit of 100 tons. That’s not a very big ship although, of course, the feature examples they’ve given are much larger vessels. Tonnage lost might have been more revealing.
    My guess would be what you’re looking at is a lot of small rust buckets operating out in the third world. Which is about what you’d expect from the third world. And is something there’s nothing an article in the UK leading bleat sheet can do to alter.

  8. It’s just a story designed to appeal to Guardian readers. Exploited third-world workers, poor animals suffering and dying, the evils of unregulated trade, and the spurious sense of a campaign.

    Youngsters with tattoos and odd piercings will scan the article between writing dreary reports or poring over spreadsheets. They’ll look at the end to see if there is a boycott or other opportunities for virtue-signalling, mentally file it as “a bad thing”, and move on.

  9. For once for a Guardian article, this looks pretty believable. Live cargo moves around, and yes this is a very bad thing on a ship on the high seas, lots of ships involved are conversions and/or old, sanitary arrangements are not great. They might have a point.

  10. Aha now that’s my game although I`ve never been a Marine underwriter. I`m only guessing but as it is ships rather than voyages that are insured I`m not sure it would be easy to get that sort of data. Most rating is not derived from an actuarial exercise but rests on usual practice adjusted for results over time, but it has to be an identifiable book of business.
    Are they really resting this conclusion on 2 events ?

    Um… its called the law of large numbers ?

  11. @ Newmania
    The adjustment for results over time is done by actuaries these days; Royal insurance was using an Actuary to do it 50-odd years ago and when other insurers noticed that this improved Royal’s results they started to copy.

  12. Pull up a sandbag, because TINS…

    Back in the 1980s during the “Tanker War” between Iran and Iraq, there was a period where Iran was mining the Arabian/Persian Gulf (it’s very political what you call it, almost as important as whether your kefiyeh is printed with red or black…) and damaging a US-flagged tanker and a US Navy frigate. As a result, mines were on everyone’s mind.

    Which made the point where a British warship on the Armilla Patrol had to take emergency evasive action to avoid a floating object with four prominent ‘spikes’ (exactly resembling the M08 mines Iran had been caught scattering in the shipping lanes to Iraq and Kuwait) and then discovering she was caught in a field of the damn things.

    Except, in this case, they weren’t drifting mines, they were dead sheep floating belly-up in the water.

    Best guess, a Gulf livestock carrier had suffered some sort of outbreak or problem, and just hoofed a hundred or two carcasses over the side to be rid of them.

    I’m told you could always tell if one of those ships was around – the stench carried downwind for a dozen miles or more. In that area they were converted passenger ferries, so neither drained nor ventilated to cope with being packed with livestock.

    But it was the Middle East, where animal welfare activists don’t go…

  13. almost as important as whether your kefiyeh is printed with red or black

    Which is why I pack both colours when travelling in the region (not so much nowadays though).

    But it was the Middle East, where animal welfare activists don’t go…

    Mostly because these activists like to come back from their faked “animal welfare investigation”, not gutted and thrown over the side like shark bait, which is what would happen in most parts of the Middle East.

  14. PETA love to protest about Oz live animal sales to Mahometan countries. They rant loudly and long about the death rate.

    Haven’t heard of any ships sinking, although diseased or dead animals are tossed overboard.

  15. “Cattle shipped to remote slaughter houses die at sea. Oh, the Humanity!”

    A properly designed livestock ship will have exercise areas for the livestock. Indirect lighting. Three squares a day. And Muzak.

  16. Gamecock, it’s more than the murderous lockdown scum are currently affording most humans in the world.

  17. I’m told you could always tell if one of those ships was around – the stench carried downwind for a dozen miles or more.

    Was there. Did that. Both Op ARMILLA and early Op GRANBY.

    And the stuff re mines. Although in later stages of GRANBY they were just black bin bags.

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