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Gulf Navigation rules out funding further search missions for missing livestock crew

The owners of the sunken Gulf Livestock 1 will not help finance any further search and rescue efforts for the missing 40 crew from the ship which went down in a typhoon off southern Japan 42 days ago.

Via crowdfunding sites the families of the missing have managed to mount their own search missions in southern Japan in recent weeks after the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) scaled back its own search operations.

Just three men from the livestock carrier were found in the wake of the accident, one of whom subsequently died. The missing 40 men from the Gulf Navigation ship are a mix of Filipinos, New Zealanders and Australians.

The privately funded search campaign has yielded some hopeful results with Splash reporting on October 8 how debris including lifesaving equipment similar to that onboard the sunken livestock carrier had been found on remote islands in the East China Sea.

The two living survivors from the disaster have recounted how four liferafts were deployed and all crew had donned their lifesaving equipment as the ship lost power and was battered by waves before capsizing.

With funds for more private flights drying up the families have asked the governments of the the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand to assist as well as calling for the shipowner, Gulf Navigation, to aid further search efforts in an area where there are many uninhabited Japanese islands.
Gulf Navigation has said it will not assist further to find the missing men.

“While the Owner said it had initially looked to charter a SAR vessel, it believed the right decision was to encourage the JCG and other Counties (sic) in the area to continue their extensive search efforts as they had both the knowledge and equipment required and were on the spot,” a spokesperson for the Middle Eastern owner emailed in a statement sent to Splash.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. You have individuals donating their hard earned money during the middle of a pandemic. The least Gulf Navigation could do would be to chip in some further funds. With projected revenue of over $50m AUD in 2020 a reasonable business would be able to find the relatively low amount of funds required to continue the search.

    Shame on you Mr Nashat Helai (CFO) and Mr Ahmad Kalani (director)

  2. Capetan is likely correct. Shipowner SAR expenses would be construed as a ‘sue and labour’ (claims mitigation) cost to be indemnified by P&I and reimbursed to shipowners. On the face of it, Gulf Navigation’s P&I Club (reportedly West of England) discouraged owners from engaging private SAR services. I would therefore suggest adding West of England P&I to Lachlan’s ‘name and shame’ list. And full marks to the Save the Forty group and their ‘little people’ supporters who – despite the odds – have demonstrated human decency, ingenuity and and belief in the value of human life at its best.

    1. Also MARCONSULT could be responsible for a breach of a duty of care. Its performance as holder of ISM Document of Complince falls far below what can reasonably be expected from the “company” (term defined by ISM CODE) in these circumstances.

  3. The Wake of Shame. This is a clear admission of abandonment at sea of employees who were NOT declared deceased. They not only abandoned their employees, they abandoned their surviving loved ones. I wonder how Allah counts this in the scale of charity and compassion in the UAE? It reads like the Gulf Navigation Holding company is a serial or mass murderer.
    They have brought great shame to Dubai, the UAE, and to the Maritime community. Where is IMO and ILO enforcement of SOLAS and support for seafarers? Oh let me guess, a new policy paper will be written to prove they care while doing nothing at all. The policy papers are meaningless without enforcement. This is why repeated maritime shipping disaster occur on their watch.
    Nothing like yet another ‘LESSON LEARNED” after people are sacrificed for gross negligence. Even previous lessons learned are ignored willfully by the industry, Panama flagships and shipowners and their handlers. Save The Forty is not a nice catchy phrase, its an SOS to the industry for preservation of life at sea and as the worn out UN says ‘humanitarian causes.’ Not only do we have unessential workers we now have disposable workers. Let’s see what the investigation does and if they have the courage for a third-party audit, or will it be another duck and hide report?

  4. The Panama Flag State ‘investigation’ will no doubt be another “duck and hide” report designed to protect shipowner and flag stae commercial interests under an IMO formulated ‘no attribution of blame’ process. The last Panama flag investigation of a livestock carrier capsize was the ‘Danny F’ with a loss of 40 seafarers in 2009. It was only after ITF and other maritime union pressure was applied that the report was published and, even now, a private subscriber to the IMO GISIS website cannot download a copy. Is there to be no end to IMO condoned lying by omission and deceit? My suggestion to Save the Forty: move on to funding a truly independent investigation of the GL 1 loss and provide the hard evidence necessary to force change to a rotten system.

  5. Slender NZ Prime Minister does not look interested in an investigation. Voters and media are probably most concerned with Antarctica and the Amazon rainforest. Rotten system.

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