The search for survivors from the missing Gulf Livestock 1 has been called with two of the vessel’s 43 crew members rescued, according to a statement from the ship owner on Thursday.
The body of a third crew member has also been recovered.
The Gulf Livestock 1 was lost September 2 during a voyage from Napier, New Zealand to Tangshan, China. The vessel is believed to have sunk off the coast of Japan.
A statement today from the ship owner, Dubai-based Gulf Navigation Holding, said that while investigations into the cause of the incident are on-going, the Gulf Livestock 1 encountered “unusual winds” gusting up to 160 km per here due to impacts from Typhoon Maysak.
The vessel was carrying some 5,800 cattle destined for China when it sank, increasing public concern regarding the live animal trade. New Zealand has temporarily suspended live cattle exports as a result of the incident.
Forty crew members remain missing and are presumed dead. The survivors have been identified as the ship’s 45-year-old Chief Officer and 30-year-old AB, both of whom are from the Philippines.
“We thank the Japanese Coast Guard for their tireless search and rescue work. All our condolences go out to the family of the seafarer whose body was found by the Coast Guard and we are deeply saddened that despite all the searches only two survivors have so far been found. We hope and pray that others will have somehow survived this tragic incident. Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathy go out to all family members and friends who are waiting at home still hoping for good news, as we all are,” a spokesperson for Gulf Navigation said.
“We cannot forget that livestock, all headed for the dairy farms of China, were lost in this terrible event and can understand the feelings of those that view the loss of this many cattle with deep concern,” the spokesperson added.
“Gulf Navigation Holding says that everyone in the Company is devastated by the enormity of this tragic accident and thanks all those involved in the rescue events despite the worsening weather conditions between Typhoons. The Company is committed to a full investigation into this incident and hopes that the survivors will be able to provide further insight into the events of the early morning of September 2,” the statement from the ship owner added.