The livestock carrier was heading from Romania to Saudi Arabia, when it overturned just off Midia Port, Romania, on 24 November, with approximately 14,600 sheep and 22 crew members onboard. The crew was saved but only 180 sheep survived.

However, the recent revelations by the salvage company on extra decks are likely to increase the death toll by several thousands, and raise fresh questions on whether overloading was to blame for the capsize, The Guardian reports.

In particular, the salvage firm Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP Offshore), halted operations Saturday, after the crane’s cables were unable to bear the load, the Romanian national daily Adevărul reported.

As such, the divers entered the water and found additional decks, which also had animals onboard, Gabriel Comănescu, GSP’s president, was quoted as saying.

There are decks not included in the cargo plan, they are undeclared. It is the problem of the authorities to find out why they were loaded and why they were not included in the cargo plan. It’s a big question. There is a much larger load than over 14,000 sheep,

...he stressed.

Meanwhile, this news re-surges initial suspicions that the incident occurred due to overloading.

In light of this, animal welfare organization Animals International said it will file complaints to the EU commission and the Romanian prosecutor’s anti-corruption department.

See also:

Australia commissions Inspector-General of live animal exports