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Japan Resumes Search for Crew of Missing Livestock Carrier

Japan resumes search for missing livestock carrier
Japan Coast Guard had to suspend searching due to Typhoon Haishen - file photo of Japan Coast Guard vessels

By The Maritime Executive 09-07-2020 03:31:02

The Japan Coast Guard resumed its search for survivors from the livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1 which is believes to have capsized and sunk on September 2 in the East China Sea after sailing into Typhoon Maysak. Prior to suspending the search, two survivors had been located and one crew member who was later pronounced dead at a Japanese hospital.

The search was suspended for 48-hours as of mid-day on September 5 due to heavy winds and rains from a second storm, Typhoon Haishen, lashed the same area. The weather had forced the Japan Coast Guard to withdraw its vessels and aircraft from the area saying that it would resume as soon as weather conditions permitted.

No reports were received from today’s search of any additional seafarers or wreckage having been located. In addition to the three crew members, last week the Japan Coast Guard reported a small oil slick and also located the bodies of some of the cattle that had been aboard the vessel. The Gulf Livestock 1 had a crew of 43 aboard along with 5,800 cattle heading from New Zealand to China when it encountered the typhoon.

According to an analysis prepared by Windward and published by Forbes over the weekend, the vessel sailed directly into the storm. Weather reports around the time the 8,7300 DWT vessel issued its distress call indicated that Typhoon Maysak was a category 3 storm with winds at 115 mph. Windward reports that the Gulf Livestock 1 was continuing on its course taking it towards the eye of the storm while other vessels in the area were diverting.

Reports are also continuing to surface of the vessel’s previous mechanical difficulties and issues uncovered during port inspections. In May 2020, the Australia Maritime Safety Authority detained the vessel due to seven discrepancies including issues with its electronic charts and other issues related to navigational safety. It was the second time Australia had cited charting issues as they were also listed as a deficiency in May of 2019. In December 2019, Indonesian authorities also found a broad range of issues ranging from the issues with the main propulsion engine to the functionality of safety systems and concerns over safe means of access for the working areas of the ship.

Investigators will likely be looking at both the ship’s safety record as well as the navigation decision made by the captain leading up to the loss of the vessel. Japanese authorities have not provided any additional details on their plans for the search and rescue operation.