Cape Town Hit With 'Worst Stench in My Life'

Odor was traced to a ship docked offshore on Monday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2024 5:25 PM CST
Cape Town Hit With 'Worst Stench in My Life'
The 623-foot long Al Kuwait is a Kuwaiti-flagged livestock vessel seen docked with 19,000 cattle aboard in the harbor in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.   (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

The smell that took over Cape Town was so putrid and far-reaching that authorities in the South African city launched an investigation into its source on Monday. It turns out it wasn't a sewage facility leak but rather an odor emanating from a ship docked in the harbor that held 19,000 live cattle that were on their way from Brazil to Iraq, reports the AP. The 623-foot-long Al Kuwait had stopped there on Sunday in order to load feed for the cattle and was due to leave later Tuesday, reports Reuters. Standout quotes:

  • A 29-year-old resident tells the BBC: "It was the worst stench I have ever come across in my life. It ruined my day because even when I was indoors, every time the [elevator] opened, the smell spilled over into the office and it stuck in the back of my throat like a bad aftertaste."
  • From the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which boarded the ship to inspect: "This smell is indicative of the awful conditions the animals endure, having already spent 2½ weeks onboard, with a build-up of feces and ammonia. The stench onboard is unimaginable, yet the animals face this every single day."
  • One of those inspectors tells Reuters: "The feces that the cattle were standing is already basically up to the top of their hooves in some pens."
(More smell stories.)

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