Australians are confirmed to be onboard a ship which is missing off the coast of Japan.
Gulf Livestock 1 was carrying 43 crew members including two Australians, two New Zealanders and 39 Filipinos.
Consular assistance is being provided to the families of the Australian crew members by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The Australian Government is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australian crew members on board a cargo vessel reported missing in Japanese waters,” a spokesperson said.
“Owing to our privacy obligations we are unable to provide further comment.”
Survivor says crew put on life jackets before ship capsized
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported the Panamanian-registered livestock vessel, sent a distress call at around 1.40am local time while travelling through the East China Sea, west of Amami Oshima island.
The ship had been transporting dairy cattle to China from Napier, New Zealand when it encountered Typhoon Maysak.
One man was rescued by the Japanese coast guard which sent ships out to search the area as the dangerous weather continued.
The survivor was identified as Sareno Edvarodo, a 45-year-old chief officer from the Philippines.
According to Mr 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. Mr Edvarodo told the coastguard he jumped into the water and did not see any other crew members before he was rescued.
Bad weather is believed to be hampering efforts to locate the ship as the the Japanese coast is battered by the storm.
‘Thoughts and prayers’ sent out to those affected
The Australian Live Exporters Council (ALEC) said the exporter is working with the shipping company to keep the families of those affected informed, but with search efforts ongoing it was important to avoid any speculation.
ALEC CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton told Yahoo News Australia that the situation remains “very concerning”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved,” he said.
“Obviously the search and rescue is still underway, so we still hold out hope.
“But it's obviously a very difficult time for all involved and we are doing what we can to support those affected.”
Consular assistance provided to New Zealand families
New Zealand authorities confirmed the ship was carrying 5867 cattle when it departed Napier on August 14, on a 17 day journey to the Port of Jingtang in Tangshan, China.
Livestock carrier goes missing in the East China Sea— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) September 2, 2020
The GULF LIVESTOCK 1 has disappeared, probably hit by high waves & strong winds caused by typhoon #MAYSAK, our data shows. The search for the livestock carrier in load began as concern for the safety of 43 crew onboard rises pic.twitter.com/6H3yGOkUqr
They said they are providing consular assistance to the families of their citizens who are affected.
“The New Zealand Government is responding to reports that the vessel Gulf Livestock 1 activated a distress signal west of Amami Oshima Island in Japan yesterday,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the families of two New Zealanders aboard.
“For privacy reasons no information about individuals will be provided.”
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