In a last bid to track down their loved ones, the four families of the missing Australian and New Zealand crewmen on the Gulf Livestock 1 have clubbed together to create a ¥5m ($67,000) reward for anyone who discovers or unearths information leading directly to the discovery of any or all of the missing 40 crewmen, whether alive or deceased, from the sunken ship. Any information should be relayed to Simone Wearne who can be reached at the following telephone number: +819010717141.
The livestock vessel, owned by Gulf Navigation, sank in the middle of a typhoon off southern Japan on September 2. Forty out of 43 crew remain unaccounted for from the accident, while the more than 5,800 cattle onboard the converted boxship perished.
Extensive search and rescue missions, initially led by the Japanese Coast Guard and latterly funded by crowdsourcing, have unearthed debris linked to the ship washed up on islands in the far south of Japan. Families are holding out hope that a number of liferafts are still not accounted for in the search operations.
In the Philippines, meanwhile, where the other 36 missing crew hail from, Senator Risa Hontiveros today urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to “pressure” the owners of the cattle ship to “swiftly facilitate” the search for the missing crew.
“I would like to respectfully convey their request that the owner of the vessel – Gulf Navigation Holding – be pressured to expedite marine salvage operations for the purpose of recovering any remains that may still be within the wreck of the ship,” Hontiveros said.
Contacted by Splash last month, a spokesperson for Gulf Navigation said the company would not help finance any further search and rescue efforts for the missing crew.
The Gulf Livestock 1 started its trading career as a 630 teu containership in 2002 before being converted to carry animals 10 years later. The sunken ship had a chequered past.
European shipping database Equasis lists 25 port state control deficiencies in 2019 and 2020 alone, including a number relating to the main engine. In July last year the ship drifted for a day undergoing repairs following an engine failure.