Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Three-day search for missing crew of sunken Dubai-operated ship suspended as Typhoon Haishen hits Japan

Gulf Livestock 1 was en route to China when it lost an engine and capsized near Japan

A typhoon has halted the three-day search for the missing crew of a Dubai-operated cargo ship in the East China Sea.

The freighter Gulf Livestock 1 was en route from the port of Napier, New Zealand to Tangshan, China with a crew of 43 men and a cargo of nearly 6,000 cattle when it sunk.

It sent a distress shortly after 1am on Wednesday, a time when the area was battered by rain and winds of 210 km per hour whipped up by Typhoon Maysak.

Japan’s coast guard searched for its missing sailors with a fleet of rescue boats, airplanes and divers from Wednesday night until noon on Saturday when a second typhoon forced the coast guard to suspend the search.

Typhoon Haishen is predicted to be one of the strongest in Japan since records began 70 years ago, with winds of up to 234 km per hour. Meteorologists predicted it could strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane by the end of the week and more than 200,000 people in southern Japan were evacuated from their homes.

Hope of finding survivors from Gulf Livestock 1 has dimmed.

The cargo ship is operated by Dubai-based company Gulf Navigation Holdings, registered in Panama and owned by the Jordanian-based Rahmeh Compania Naviera.

The 18-year-old freighter has a history of mechanical problems.

In late July, the Philippine Navy said it provided assistance to the vessel after it encountered engine trouble off Balut Island in the south of the Philippines.

A December report by Indonesian authorities noted “deficiencies” with the ship’s main propulsion engine, gauges and thermometers.

In May 2019, the vessel was detained for a week by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for “stability and navigation issues” before it was repaired and allowed to journey to Indonesia.

The ship had a crew of 39 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders.

Just three crew members were found.

Sareno Edvarodo, a 45-year-old chief officer from the province of Cebu in the Philippines, was found floating at sea in the darkness on Wednesday.

Mr Edvarodo said the 139-metre ship was capsized by a wave after one engine stopped.

On Friday, Japan’s coast guard found a second, unidentified crew member about 120 km northwest of Amami Oshima island. He was unconscious and died hours later.

A search plane found a third crew member, Jay-Nel Rosales, adrift in a life raft.

Rosales, a deck crew from Cebu, was in stable condition and taken to the Kagoshima-ken Kenritsu Ooshima Hospital for a check-up.

"I really hope the others are found," his wife Gina Baulita, told the Washington Post. "We are praying for them, too. God is the only one we can count on.”

Tributes have poured in for the missing crew. They included Lukas Orda, a vet from Queensland, Australia who had started the job earlier this year. The young father had a six-month old child and would have turned 26 in November.

The crew’s other Australian was Will Mainprize, a former trekking guide from New South Wales who lived in Tasmania. According to Australian

media, Mr Mainprize took work as a stock handler when the island’s tourism dried up due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ship’s Filipino captain, Dante Addug, phoned his partner as the freighter filled with water. At age 34, he was believed to be the youngest person from Ifugao province to become a captain in a region known for its seafarers. He is survived by five children under age six.

Updated: September 7, 2020 05:43 PM

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