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Thousands mobilise in bid to try and save the 40 missing men from the Gulf Livestock 1

Thousands of people around the world are joining together to get more nations involved in the search operation for the missing 40 crew from the Gulf Livestock 1, which sank in the East China Sea off southern Japan 13 days ago.

The Japan Coast Guard is still engaged in the search with both boats and aircraft, while huge efforts are being made via an online community to keep up the quest to find crew members from the Gulf Navigation livestock carrier.

Just three men from the 43 crew – a mix of Filipinos, Australians and New Zealanders – have been found so far, but families of the missing crew are pinning their hopes to the fact that three liferafts and one lifeboat remain missing.

We are witnessing an incredible group of family members who have become a force of nature themselves

More than 100,000 people have signed petitions urging Australasian governments to get involved with a renewed search, while geographers and scientists have created a map (see below), issued yesterday, suggesting where the life rafts might be now taking into account the wind, swell, drift and current off southern Japan, an area battered by typhoons in recent weeks. The hundreds of vessels transiting the busy shipping area are asked to be on the lookout for the missing liferafts.

On various social media platforms the Save The Forty campaign is gathering momentum while an urgent letter has been sent to the United Nations seeking a swift international charter to be declared in order to access post-event high resolution satellite imagery to conduct the world’s largest volunteer search and rescue mission.

“We need the help of thousands of digital public searchers to review the imagery for signs of the missing shipmates and their international orange lifeboats they set to sea in,” the letter states.

On Facebook, the Save The Forty group, created by the International Rescue Instructors Association (IRIA), is gaining a quick following as it seeks to create the world’s largest maritime search and rescue crowdsourcing team.

Efforts to track the missing rafts from satellites or the air have been hampered in recent days by significant cloud cover in the area. Splash understands that Japanese search teams have been focused on the seas south of Osaka today.

“The families of the Gulf Livestock 1 are the heroes of this tragedy. We are witnessing an incredible group of family members who have become a force of nature themselves. Their spirit, love and fortitude are inspiring,” Shawn Alladio, the president of IRIA, told Splash today.

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. It met its fate on September 2 when it travelled into the middle of a typhoon while en route from New Zealand to China. The Panama-flagged vessel lost power, took on water, capsized and sank.

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. I’m wondering why , why, it is taking so long , our technology is better than this , this vessel would have Underwater Acoustic Beacon , which is triggered by immersion in water , which gives out Pulses in the ultrasonic that can be detected by Airborne or Shipborne units a& also equipped VDR/SVDR Which this data will be stored once vessel located , according to there charts there on to it , The Gulfs location is still located on satellite , this should surly be located by Radar , inferred, varieties of electronics ,in Coast Guard , Vessels in area , you would think ,it bemuses me , they would have drifted in a N/ W direction , ,my last assumption of location (S.03’16’09.85-E.152’16’33.60) ?Lat 03.2694 Long.152.2760 ? Tabar Group Islands- Nubuto Bay ,Other side ,Lelet- Komalu , l have been leaving messages on fund me page ,no response . I just hope like everyone else to get on with it , If this were a plane , every resource would be out there , I surely think Allen Joyce , would have a few Planes spare at the moment , this is all a guessing game ,but anything’s a help , l would think , waiting for good news , Good luck to all ?Glenn Fawcett ( All will be revelled hopefully soon) I’ve put in a Tweet to Donald Trump , hell organise it !

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