Livestock ship carrying 42 crew, 5,800 cows sinks off Japan’s coast

A crewman of a Panamanian cargo ship is rescued by Japanese Coast Guard members Wednesday.
A crew member of a Panamanian cargo ship is rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard in waters off Japan on Wednesday.
(10th Regional Japan Coast Guard)

Japan’s coast guard was searching Thursday for a livestock ship carrying more than 40 crew members and nearly 6,000 head of cattle, rescuing at least one survivor who said the vessel sank during rough weather a day earlier off a southern Japanese island.

The Filipino crew member was rescued late Wednesday after Japanese navy surveillance aircraft spotted him wearing a life vest and waving while bobbing in the water.

The man, who is in good health, told rescuers that the ship capsized before sinking, coast guard regional spokesman Yuichiro Higashi said.


The survivor, a chief officer, said he quickly put on a life jacket and jumped into the sea, following an instruction in an onboard emergency announcement. He has not seen any other crew members since then, Higashi said.

The 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 ship was west of Amami Oshima, a Japanese island, in the East China Sea when it sent a distress call early Wednesday. The cause of distress was not immediately known, but the weather was rough in the area because of Typhoon Maysak.

The typhoon has since passed the area, and the weather during the search is fine, Higashi said.

On board the ship were 38 crew members from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia.

The ship, which was also carrying 5,800 cows, left the port of Napier in northeastern New Zealand in mid-August and was on its way to Tangshan on China’s eastern coast.

Its automatic identification system tracker gave its last position nearly two days ago, according to the ship-tracking website Based on that position, it was sailing in high winds of 58 knots (66 miles per hour), said.


The ship’s operator, Gulf Navigation Holdings PJSC, which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, declined to comment. The company, traded on the Dubai Financial Market, says it owns and operates chemical tankers, livestock vessels and other ships.