Search operations livestock carrier halted, another two crew found

Another two crew members of the cargo ship that sank off the coast of Japan during a heavy storm were rescued on Friday 4 September. A day later, the Japanese authorities had to temporarily halt the ongoing search for the other missing crew members due to typhoon Haishen approaching the area.

The freighter Gulf Livestock 1 had 43 crew members on board as well as 5800 cows. The crew consisted of two Australians, two New Zealanders and 39 Filipinos. The ship was on its way from Napier in New Zealand to Tangshan in North China. The crew sent a distress signal when the ship ran into trouble about 185 kilometres west of the island of Amami ƌshima. This happened on Wednesday 2 September when typhoon Maysak crossed the area.

That same day, a 45-year old officer from the Philippines was rescued. On Friday, first a 30-year old was picked up from a life raft. Later that day, a 20-year-old Philippine was also found floating on a life raft, a few kilometers from a small Japanese island. For one of them, the help came too late.

The first crew member that was rescued said that the ship had engine problems and capsized after being hit by a huge wave. The authorities found carcasses of cows in the disaster area, but most of the people on board are still missing.

Typhoon halts rescue operation

The Japanese Coast Guard has been searching the area with three boats, five airplanes, and divers. The operation was halted on Saturday 5 September when another typhoon was approaching the area. Typhoon Haishen arrived on Saturday evening (local time) and is accompanied by huge waves and strong winds. A source at the Coast Guard says that the search can only be resumed once the storm has crossed Japan, which could take days.

Source: ANP

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.