TOKYO/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – More than 40 crew members were missing after a ship carrying cattle from New Zealand to China capsized in stormy weather in the East China Sea, the Japanese coastguard said on Thursday.
A lone crew member from the Gulf Livestock 1 had been rescued so far. Three vessels, four airplanes, and two divers were taking part in the search, the coastguard said.
The ship, with a cargo of nearly 6,000 cattle, sent a distress call from the west of Amami Oshima island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday as Typhoon Maysak lashed the area with strong winds and heavy seas.
Sareno Edvarodo, a 45-year-old chief officer from the Philippines, was rescued on Wednesday night, Japan’s coastguard said. By Thursday evening, he was still the only person rescued so far, a coastguard official said, adding the bodies of some cattle had been recovered.
The crew of 43 was made up of 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand, and two from Australia, the coastguard said.
According to Edvarodo, the ship lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized, a coastguard spokeswoman said.
When the ship capsized, crew were instructed to put on lifejackets. Edvarodo told the coastguard he jumped into the water and did not see any other crew members before he was rescued.
Pictures provided by the coastguard showed a person in a lifejacket being hauled from choppy seas in darkness.
The Philippines government said it was coordinating with the Japanese coastguard in the search.
Typhoon Maysak made landfall in South Korea on Thursday, bringing lashing winds, and at least two people were killed in the southern city of Busan. Another storm, Typhoon Haishen, was brewing south of Japan and is expected to hit the Korean coast on Sunday or Monday.
By, Junko Fujita, Praveen Menon / Reuters