Ship decays with 42 crew members in hurricane near Japan

In a hurricane in the East China Sea, a ship with 42 crew members and almost 6000 cows on board perished. As far as we know there is one survivor, a man from the Philippines. He drifted into the sea with a life jacket and was rescued by the Japanese coastguard.

The other crew members are still being searched for. Most of them are from the Philippines. There were also two New Zealanders and two Australians on board.

The Gulf Livestock 1 left New Zealand on August 14, the destination was China. About 120 kilometres northwest of the Japanese island Amami Oshima it sent a distress signal. The Filipino who survived the disaster said the ship’s engine had stopped before it was hit by a high wave and capsized.

Animal suffering

The New Zealand animal rights organisation Safe says the tragedy shows the risks of transporting live animals. “These cows should never have been at sea,” said a spokesman. “We sympathise with the families of the crew members, but the question remains as to why this should continue.”

New Zealand earned 31 million euros last year from the export of live cattle. Thousands of animals do not survive the transports.