Filipino survivor: Livestock ship with 42 crew sank off Japan coast

In this photo released by the 10th Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters, a Filipino crew member of a Panamanian cargo ship is rescued by Japanese Coast Guard members in the waters off the Amami Oshima, Japan, Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Japanese rescuers have safely plucked the crew member from the sea while searching for the cargo ship carrying more than 40 crew and thousands of cows went missing after sending a distress call off the southern Japanese island.

TOKYO—Japanese rescuers were searching Thursday for a livestock ship with 42 crew members on board that a Filipino survivor said sank during rough weather a day earlier off a southern Japanese island, the coast guard said.

The Filipino crew member, identified in a Bloomberg News dispatch as Chief Officer Sareno Edvardo, 45, was rescued late Wednesday after a Japanese Navy P-3C surveillance aircraft spotted him wearing a life vest and waving while bobbing in the water. A wave tilted the Gulf Livestock 1’s hull to the right and the vessel overturned after its engine stopped, according to a statement from the Japanese coast guard. Edvardo jumped into the sea wearing a life jacket and was subsequently rescued.

The ship’s other crew include 38 from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and another two from Australia.

The rescued Filipino crew member, who was reported to be in good health, told rescuers the ship capsized before sinking, said spokesman Yuichiro Higashi at the Japanese coast guard’s regional headquarters conducting the search.

The 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 ship was carrying 5,800 cows west of the western coast of Amami Oshima in the East China Sea when it sent a distress call early Wednesday. The cause of the distress was not immediately known, but the weather was rough in the area due to Typhoon Maysak.

The typhoon has since passed the area and the weather during the ongoing search is fine, Higashi said.

The ship, owned by Gulf Navigation Holding based in the United Arab Emirates, left the port of Napier in northeastern New Zealand in mid-August and was on its way to the port of Tangshan on China’s eastern coast.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka, meanwhile, confirmed that the Japanese coast guard immediately deployed patrol boats and airplanes to conduct the search for the missing vessel.

The DFA said the Consulate General in Osaka is also monitoring of the progress of the search and rescue mission in coordination with the Japanese coast guard, which is launching a second search and rescue mission.

The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Osaka were also reported to be in close coordination with Korpil Ship Management and Manning Corp., the local manning agency, in ascertaining the condition of the Filipino seafarers.

The Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress call around 1:45 a.m. when it was about 185 kilometers west of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, according to the Japanese coast guard.

The coast guard launched a search operation, joined by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, with a surveillance aircraft.

AP, Bloomberg  News,  with  Recto Mercene

Image credits: AP


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