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Livestock Carrier's Owner Supports Families Calling for Renewed Search

calls continue to resume search for crew of the missing livestock carrier
A survivor previously found from the lost livestock carrier - courtesy Japan Coast Guard

By The Maritime Executive 09-16-2020 04:46:44

Responding to the continuing pleas of the family members of the missing seafarers from the lost livestock vessel Gulf Livestock 1, the ship’s owners, managers, and manning agents joined the calls to resume the search and rescue operation. Gulf Navigation issued a statement acknowledging the family members, calling for the search efforts to resume, and outlining steps it was taking to support the efforts.

The livestock carrier was sailing from New Zealand to China when it encountered Typhoon Maysak. After losing power, the two survivors reported that the ship capsized in the heavy seas. The Japan Coast Guard located the two individuals and a third who had died leaving 40 unaccounted for when it ended the dedicated search and rescue efforts.

Since then family members in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines have been using social media to put a human face on the tragedy and to call for the resumption of the search. Over 56,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling for the search to resume and over 500 people have donated over $60,000 on a GoFundMe page organized by the families. Using independent marine exports hired by one of the families in New Zealand, they are calling for the search to explore an area 35 nautical miles east-north-east, including a series of smaller, uninhabited islands. They also point to the fact that one lifeboat and four inflatable rafts were not located by the initial search and rescue mission.

“Aware of the deep concern and determination of the families of those missing,” the statement from Gulf Navigation said they “have reached out urgently to the Japanese Coast Guard and nation states bordering the South China Sea, to resume the search and rescue operation. This search to specifically include the many small uninhabited islands where relatives believe their loved ones might have reached during the severe storm.”

Gulf Navigation also said that the requests had been presented to the UAE Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for their support in reiterating the requests to continue with the search to the Japanese, Chinese and Korean governments via their embassies. A general alert has also gone out to all ships, including fishing vessels, passing through the region Gulf Navigation reported.

The statement went on to say that they can only imagine how devastated all the families of those onboard must be at this terrible time of waiting and hoping. “We will do everything possible to find ways of finding further survivors of this tragic accident. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the crew member who was found deceased and can only hope and pray that other survivors may be found, even at this late stage.” 

Seeking to provide families with answers, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters proposed a search for the vessel’s voyage recorders. Gulf Navigation said that the “feasibility of sending professional dive teams to the vessel is under consideration. However, the precise location of the vessel is uncertain given the strength of the two typhoons that passed through the region in quick succession. The general depth in the region, which could be more than 1000 meters, and strong tidal flows are a major consideration affecting any diving operations.”

Gulf Navigation confirmed that there will be a full investigation into the incident, together with experts and the flag state, which will be published when completed.