Search for missing livestock ship crew off Japan resumes

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese coast guard ships resumed searching yesterday for a livestock ship and its 40 missing crew members off Japan’s southern islands after the efforts were suspended due to a typhoon.

The Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress signal early on September 2 while it was sailing in stormy conditions in the East China Sea as a typhoon passed the area. Two survivors were rescued and the body of a third crew member was recovered before a second typhoon halted the search.

The aerial search had resumed late on Monday. Coast Guard officials said two patrol ships were back at sea yesterday after the waters calmed.

Rescuers have seen dozens of cows carcasses, an empty raft, a life vest carrying the ship’s name and a bundle of rope floating in the area. They also found traces of fuel in the water, a sign of the ship’s submersion.

The Gulf Livestock 1 left New Zealand in mid-August carrying 5,800 cows to Tangshan on China’s eastern coast. New Zealand temporarily suspended new approvals for exporting live cows after the ship’s sinking.

The first survivor, a chief officer from the Philippines rescued last Wednesday, told Coast Guard officials that the ship stalled when an engine stopped, then capsized after being hit broadside by a powerful wave and sank. A second survivor, a Filipino deckhand, was rescued last Friday while floating in a raft.

The total crew included 39 from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia. The body of the crew member who died has not been identified.