A billionaire is suing the Spirit of Tasmania after six of his polo ponies, valued at more than $ 100,000 each, died asphyxiated while on board the ferry.
Breeder Johnny Kahlbetzer said a total of 16 horses died during the nine-hour trip from Devonport, Tasmania, to Melbourne on January 29.
Kahlbetzer owned six of the horses, while the other seven belonged to former Australian polo team captain Andrew Williams.
Breeder Johnny Kahlbetzer (pictured with partner Donna Gardner) is suing Spirit of Tasmania after six of his polo ponies, valued at more than $ 100,000 each, died asphyxiated while on board the ferry.
Breeder Johnny Kahlbetzer said a total of 16 horses died during the nine-hour trip aboard the Spirit of Tasmania (pictured) from Devonport, Tasmania, to Melbourne on January 29.
Kahlbetzer said the owners could not get on board with their animals, but they were assured that the crew would take care of them.
Mr. Kahlbetzer said that he was shown photos of his precious horses when they arrived and that "it was not pretty".
Kahlbetzer's company, Twynam Agricultural Group, is suing TT Line Spirit of Tasmania and QUBE Holdings Limited in the Victorian Supreme Court for the deaths, The Daily Telegraph reported.
They argue in court documents that the companies were negligent and did not fulfill their duty to provide care to provide a safe environment for the animals.
They are looking for $ 639,000 for the horses and another $ 100,000 for the loss of profits.
Kahlbetzer owned six of the ponies, while the other seven belonged to the former captain of the Australian polo team Andrew Williams (in the photo playing on the left)
The horses died presumably suffocated on board the ship after competing in the Barnbougle Polo event (pictured)
A spokesman for Spirit of Tasmania said the company could not comment because an investigation was under way.
However, the Spirit of Tasmania website indicates that "fresh water is supplied and periodic checks are carried out on pets during navigation".
The Tasmanian government, which owns the TT Line Spirit of Tasmania ferry service from Hobart to Melbourne, is also investigating the deaths.
Kahlbetzer said he was devastated by the death of his beloved horses.
Williams said that the death of his seven horses changed his business forever.
"I lost a breeding line that was priceless to me," Williams said.
Australian polo athletes compete in Werribee, Victoria
Polo horses (seen at the Portsea Pole in Melbourne) can be worth more than $ 100,000 each