The Race Against Time: 228 Sheep Already Rescued from Capsized Ship in Romania

The Race Against Time: 228 Sheep Already Rescued from Capsized Ship in Romania

FOUR PAWS’ partner drilled holes in ship's side – rescue mission continues today


Constanta/Vienna, 28th November 2019 – The Romanian animal welfare organisation ARCA, which was trained by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS for such missions, continues to work tirelessly to rescue as many as possible of the 14,000 sheep trapped in a capsized ship. The vessel was on its way from Romania to Saudi Arabia when it capsized on 24th November. Yesterday, the team managed to rescue another 109 sheep alive from the ship. A total of 228 animals have already been saved from a slow death. The rescued sheep are in quarantine about 25 kilometres from Midia Novodari, where Romanian official veterinarians look after them. Today, the emergency operation coordinated by FOUR PAWS is being continued – even though the chances of rescuing more sheep are now low at this point.

Video footage published yesterday by FOUR PAWS shows the team's desperate attempts and the misery of the horrific situation. 

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Veterinarian Dr Ovidiu Rosu from ARCA explains: “We drilled two holes in the ship's side to have better access to the animals. The situation is very difficult due to smoke and toxic fumes, but we managed to install a fan inside the ship, so we could at least enter the ship with face masks.” It is a race against time, says Rosu: “Of course the health of the animals is getting worse and worse. They already have big breathing problems but every life count, that's why we continue.”

The team works together with emergency trained special forces of the ISU, the Romanian Inspectorate for Emergency Situations. FOUR PAWS is in contact with the responsible authorities to take over the animals and find a sustainable and animal-friendly solution for them.

FOUR PAWS demands a complete investigation and clarification of this terrible incident. “Again and again, massive animal welfare problems occur during animal transports,” says Dr Martina Stephany, Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition department at FOUR PAWS.

“Tragedies like these are a sign that animal welfare is simply not guaranteed during long-distance transports to third countries. In fact, European animal welfare standards must be guaranteed from the point of departure to the destination – even outside the EU. Although this is often not the case, the authorities approve illegal transports. If animal welfare rules are simply ignored, the EU must initiate infringement proceedings and urgently reconsider its transport regulations. Long-distance transports to third countries should be banned.”

Dr Martina Stephany

A race against time

Help Now!
Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations

+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

FOUR PAWS on Social Media

Stay up to date on this topic and on all FOUR PAWS activities on our social media channels:

or subscribe to FOUR PAWS International newsletter.


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

Share now!