A third crewman from a cargo ship carrying 6,000 cattle that capsized off south-west Japan has been found.
A search plane spotted the Filipino crewman waving for help from a life raft about a mile off Kodakarajima, a small island in Japan’s southern Kagoshima prefecture. Rescuers also found an overturned orange lifeboat a little further off Kodakarajima, but no one was in it.
The Gulf Livestock 1 capsized in the East China Sea on Wednesday on its way to China from New Zealand. A crew member died on Friday after being pulled unconscious from the water.Another crew member was rescued on Wednesday night.
The Japanese coastguard said on Friday that three vessels, four planes and two divers were taking part in the search for 40 crew members still missing.
The effort is expected to be hampered by the arrival of a typhoon over the weekend. Typhoon Haishen is likely to hit a large area spanning from the islands of Amami-Oshima to the Kyushu from Sunday through to Monday, forecasters said.
The UAE-based Gulf Navigation, which operates the Panamanian-flagged ship, said: “Our hearts go out to those onboard and their families at this time. We also express deep regret for the sad loss of the livestock onboard. We are monitoring the situation closely and working closely with those involved in rescue efforts. We pray that there are other survivors.”
A spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand said standard safety surveys were undertaken on the Gulf Livestock 1 both on arrival at and departure from Napier port, including inspections of livestock carriers and pens. “No irregularities or issues were noted,” the spokesperson said.
Bill Sweeney, the general manager of New Zealand Farmers Livestock, described the capsizing as “tragic” but disagreed with the ban on live cattle exports issued on Thursday by the ministry for primary industries (MPI).
“It’s very valuable to the farming sector and the ramifications would be a lot worse than people think,” Sweeney told Radio New Zealand, adding that his organisation had recently supplied stock to the Australian company that exported the cattle. Sweeney said he was unsure of the legality of the MPI ban as contracts had to be fulfilled.
In May last year, Australian authorities delayed the vessel’s departure from Broome to Indonesia by a week due to navigation and stability problems. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s website said the ship’s safety management system did not provide for adequate operational safety of navigation and management because it did not use the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).
An ECDIS is a navigational system that makes it easier for ships to attain directions and to navigate to pinpoint locations.
The report said the ship did not use ECDIS, and that the system onboard did not have up-to-date charts, adding that the crew were not trained in how to use the system. The deficiencies were reported as having been rectified, with an additional audit carried out on the safety management system. No other serious deficiencies were reported.
The ship sent a distress call from the west of Amami Oshima on Wednesday as Typhoon Maysak lashed the area with strong winds.
Eduardo Sareno, a 45-year-old chief officer from the Philippines, was rescued on Wednesday night, the coastguard said. Photos and video released by the coastguard showed Sareno floating in the darkness and being pulled on to a boat with a rope as rescuers battled rolling waves. He was quickly brought to a large vessel, where coastguard personnel with surgical masks and gloves wrapped him with blankets.
“Water,” he said in the video. “Thank you, thank you very much.” He asked: “I am the only one? No other one?”
The coastguard quoted Sareno as saying the ship lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized.
The crew of 43 was made up of 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia, the coastguard said.
One of the Australians onboard was on Friday named as Will Mainprize. Originally from the central coast of New South Wales, Mainprize moved to Tasmania in 2017 to work as a guide for a trekking tour company and took up a job as a stockhandler, monitoring the welfare of animals, when the island’s tourism industry collapsed due to Covid-19 border closures.
Mainprize has been described as an “easy-going” and “passionate” person who takes “great joy sharing his knowledge of the outdoors”.
The family of the other Australian, Lukas Orda, a 25-year-old father from Queensland who was onboard as a vet, said on Thursday they were devastated to hear of the sinking. His wife, Emma, posted a photo of the couple together on Facebook, writing: “Please come home really soon we love you.”
The sister of the captain, Dante Addug, said he had called his partner as water was flowing into the ship and the family had not heard from him since. “The last thing he said was he will go to the bridge to check the situation,” Maya Addug-Sanchez told the Guardian. “We saw in the news that he sent a distress call. I don’t know any more what happened.”
Additional reporting by Elias Visontay in Sydney and Carmela Fonbuena in Manila
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