Ship with 43 crew members disappears off the coast of Japan

A vessel with 43 crew members, carrying 5,800 head of cattle, disappeared off the coast of Japan. Communication with the ship was lost southwest of Japan after a powerful tafun approached.

The Japanese Coast Guard said it received a distress signal and later found one sailor in a lifeboat in the ocean. After the first distress call, no further signals were received from the vessel.

The search for the missing vessel, “Gulf Livestock 1”, was conducted all day on Wednesday 2 September. It is reported that the search and rescue operation is carried out by four vessels and a coast guard aircraft.

Before stopping the search, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said they had found one person in the vicinity of the ship’s last known location. Japanese media reports that the Coast Guard said it was a male crew member from the Philippines and was in a safe condition. In addition, an empty inflatable liferaft was reportedly sighted, but it is unclear if it belonged to Gulf Livestock 1.

The Coast Guard said it received a distress signal at approximately 1:45 a.m. on September 2, which allegedly came from an 8,372-ton Gulf Livestock 1 operated by Gulf Navigation Holding headquartered in Dubai, UAE.

The vessel was located 185 km west of Amami Oshima Island, located southwest of Japan. The ship carried a crew of 43 people, including two Australians, two New Zealanders and 39 Filipinos, as well as a cargo of 5800 head of cattle.

The ship’s last known location in the East China Sea indicates that it was close to Typhoon Maysak. The Coast Guard reports that the area has experienced bad weather with strong winds and heavy rain. At 2 a.m. on September 2, it was reported that the storm was Category 3, with wind speeds of 115 miles per hour.

On August 14, Gulf Livestock 1 departed from Napier, New Zealand to Tangshan, China. It was reported to have been traveling at a speed of 8 knots and was due to arrive in China on 4 September.

The 440-foot vessel was built in 2002 in Germany and initially operated as a cargo ship under the names Maersk Waterford and Dana Hollandia. In 2012, it was converted into a livestock transporter called Rahmeh. In April 2019, while sailing from Australia to China, it was renamed Gulf Livestock 1.

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