Casualties – GULF LIVESTOCK 1 sank off Japan – 02.09.2020

The 2002 built livestock carrier GULF LIVESTOCK I sank 100 nautical miles west of Amami Ōshima Island in southwest Japan on 2nd September 2020 due to Typhoon Maysak while she was on a passage from Napier, New Zealand to Jintang, China

She was built in Germany by the Hegemann Roland shipyard in Berne as the container ship MAERSK WATERFORD with 630 TEU capacity. With her keel laid on 4th April 2002, she was launched on 20th September and was delivered on 9 December 2002. She was renamed DANA HOLLANDIA in 2006 trading until 2012 where she was renamed as CETUS J. In 2015 she was converted to a livestock carrier named RAHMEH trading until 2019 were she was renamed as GULF LIVESTOCK I.

On Wednesday 2nd September at 0140 hrs (1640 hrs Japanese Time on 1st September) the livestock carrier ship sent a distress signal from the East China Sea west of the Japanese island of Amami Ōshima .The first survivor recovered reported that the ship’s sole main propulsion engine failed during rough seas caused by Typhoon Maysak, and the vessel later capsized after being struck by a wave. Before the ship capsized, the 34-year old Filipino ship captain was also able to tell his wife via instant messages that the worsening of the typhoon had caused the ship’s engine to fail.There were 43 crew members on board, 39 from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia. The missing Aussies were reported to have been an equine veterinarian and a stock handler.

That day, one crew member, a 45-year-old Filipino chief officer, was rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard. On Saturday 4th September, a second crew member was found unresponsive in the water by the Coast Guard and died shortly after being rescued.In the same area, several cattle carcasses and a life vest were also recovered.A second survivor, a 30-year-old Filipino deckhand in a life raft, was rescued on the afternoon of 4th September later in the afternoon. The Japanese Coast Guard resumed aerial search operations for missing crew members of the GULF LIVESTOCK 1 on Monday 7th September, 2020 after a typhoon-hit weekend made search and rescue operations impossible.

Forty crew are still missing from the ship, a converted boxship, which lost power, took on water, capsized and sank with more than 5,800 cattle onboard. Two crew have been found alive so far, and another was found unconscious and pronounced dead on arrival at a Japanese hospital.

PC 51 JCG YODO in Japan during 2003

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Published – Tuesday 8th September, 2020.