The Japanese Coast Guard has decided to suspend the extensive search for the crew of livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1, which is believed to have sunk in the East China Sea last week.
“Japanese Coast Guard has decided to transition from full-time search operations for the crew of the missing vessel Gulf Livestock 1 to its usual patrol arrangements as they have found no trace of the ship since 05 September 2020,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informed.
The Panama-flagged livestock carrier with 43 crew members and more than 5,800 cows on board capsized west of Amami Ōshima Island in southwest Japan on 2 September during the typhoon Maysak.
The 2002-built ship experienced an engine issue while sailing from Napier, New Zealand to Tangshan, China, in inclement weather and sent a distress signal before it went missing.
Three crew members were found and rescued but one of them later died.
According to New Zealand’s animal rights group Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE), Gulf Livestock 1 had a history of engine problems. During a voyage in July 2019, the livestock vessel drifted for 25 hours whilst undergoing repairs following an engine failure.
Australasian Global Exports (AGE), the company exporting the 5,867 cows on the Gulf Livestock 1 before it capsized, was reprimanded by the Australian Department of Agriculture in July 2020, the group added.
“This is a human and animal welfare disaster. Our thoughts are with the families who are missing their loved ones, but we have to recognise the risk to animals that the live export trade brings.” the group said last week.
On 3 September, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) of New Zealand announced a temporary suspension of live exports of cattle. Pressures on the government are increasing to implement a permanent ban on live cattle exports.