The shipowner of the Gulf Livestock 1 has requested for a renewed search for survivors following pressure from the families of the missing seafarers.
In an online news conference on Wednesday, family members of the missing pleaded for the search to continue and expand to focus on the number of uninhabited islands in the area where the ship went down.
The Panama-flagged Gulf Livestock 1, with some 5,800 cattle on board, sank on September 2 after apparently being hit by a “huge wave” and capsizing during Typhoon Maysak, the shipowner, Dubai-based Gulf Navigation, said in a statement on Wednesday. Among the 43 crew members onboard at the time, there have only been two survivors and 40 remain missing. The body of one deceased crew member was recovered during the initial search in the days following the incident.
A statement on Wednesday from the ship’s Owners, Managers and Manning Agents said they have reached out urgently to the Japanese Coast Guard and Nation States bordering the South China Sea to renew the search, and “specifically include the many small uninhabited islands where relatives believed loved ones might have reached during the severe storm.”
“They can only imagine how devastated all the families of those on board must be at this terrible time of waiting and hoping and 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,” the statement said.
The initial search involving vessels and aircraft from the Japanese Coast Guard commenced following the initial report of the incident and continued through September 4, but was eventually called off due hazardous weather from Typhoon Haishem.
“As soon as the main threat of this typhoon had passed, further aerial searches were conducted on September 7th, 8th and 9th. The search was finally called off at sunset on September 9th, with no further clues found as to survivors. The Japanese Coast Guard confirmed however, that regular patrols by aircraft and boats are being maintained with any new information immediately passed to the Authorities in the Philippines,” the statement said.
A general alert has also gone out to all vessels passing through the region to keep a sharp look out for survivors. The feasibility of sending professional dive teams to the vessel is also under consideration, although that effort is being hampered by uncertainty surrounding the exact location of the vessel.
“Owners confirm that there will be a full investigation into the incident, together with experts and the Flag State, which will be published when completed and be available to families wishing to know exactly what happened on the night of September 2, when the vessel was apparently hit by a huge wave and capsized,” the statement on Wednesday said.