The Japanese coast guard continued their search in the East China Sea, Friday, September 4, to try to find survivors of a cattle vessel that sank the day before with 43 crew members.
The Gulf-Livestock 1, which was carrying 5,800 cows, was caught in rough seas due to a typhoon when it issued a distress call overnight Tuesday through Wednesday, about 185 kilometers from Amami Oshima Island (south- western Japan). Its crew consisted of 39 Filipinos, two New Zealanders and two Australians. Departing from New Zealand, the ship was heading for a Chinese port.
A man was rescued safe Thursday, a 45-year-old Filipino ship officer who was floating in the waters simply wearing an orange life jacket. ” Some water “This survivor first asked in a video of his rescue provided by the Coast Guard. ” Thank you, thank you very much. I am the only one ? Nobody else ? “, he immediately added. The Japanese Coast Guard said on Friday they found another man, unconscious, ” adrift “, before announcing his death. Forty-one sailors from Gulf-Livestock 1 are therefore still missing.
According to a 2019 report from Australian authorities, the same vessel had already suffered an engine damage last year which paralyzed it at sea for twenty-five hours. The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries said on Thursday it was temporarily suspending exports of live cattle, adding “Want to understand what happened” with the Gulf-Livestock 1.
Arrival of a new typhoon
The search for possible survivors continued on Friday with four Japanese coastguard boats, a Japanese defense ministry plane and divers specializing in rescue operations. An inflatable boat had been spotted by plane on Wednesday, without being able to be docked. The coast guard said Friday that they also found an isolated life jacket at sea, as well as a dead cow adrift.
The imminent arrival of a new typhoon in the area, Haishen, is likely to cut short this increasingly desperate search. Coming from the south, Haishen is expected to ascend the string of Japanese islands around the Okinawa region to the big island of Kyushu (southwest of the country) between Saturday morning and Monday.
The government warned residents of the regions concerned on Friday, urging them to “Evacuate early” to the shelters provided as soon as such recommendations are issued by the local authorities. “In the area where the typhoon is heading, record rains, storms, high waves and tides are to be feared”, warned the spokesman of the executive, Yoshihide Suga.
Several dams in western Japan began to release water as a precaution to prevent overflows in the event of heavy rainfall, and an early warning system was activated for the population, Suga added. The Kyushu region has already been hit by terrible rains and floods in early July, which left more than 80 dead and missing.