Authorities have suspended their search for 40 missing crew members from a cargo ship that capsized off south-west Japan as Typhoon Haishen bears down on the region.
The typhoon, the second in a week, is barrelling towards the southern cluster of Japanese Okinawa islands, prompting warnings about torrential rainfall and fierce wind gusts. It is expected to cross the region late on Sunday or early Monday.
On Friday night, Japan’s coastguard announced a third crewman from the Gulf Livestock 1 had been found. The vessel had been carrying 6,000 cattle when it capsized in the East China Sea on Wednesday on its way from New Zealand to China.
The 30-year-old Filipino sailor was spotted waving for help from a life raft about a mile off Kodakarajima, a small island in Japan’s southern Kagoshima prefecture. Rescuers also found an overturned orange lifeboat a little further off Kodakarajima, but no one was in it.
A crew member died on Friday after being pulled unconscious from the water, and another crew member was rescued on Wednesday night.
The Filipino chief officer who was rescued on Wednesday, Eduardo Sareno, told authorities the ship had capsized and sunk after one engine had shut down and it was hit by a massive wave.
Rescuers spotted dozens of cow carcasses floating in the area.
Weather officials have warned about Typhoon Haishen for several days, urging people to brace for what could be a record storm and be ready to take shelter and stock up on food and water.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Haishen, carrying sustained winds of up to 198 km/h (123mph) early onSaturday, was on course to hit Okinawa by Sunday, and later the main southern island of Kyushu. But the pouring rain, high tides and winds will hit long before the typhoon, the agency said.
Earlier this week, Typhoon Maysak battered southern Japan, injuring dozens of people and cutting power to thousands of homes.
Gulf Livestock 1’s crew of 43 was made up of 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia.
One of the Australians on board the capsized vessel was named on Friday as stock handler Will Mainprize. The other Australian is Lukas Orda, a 25-year-old man from Queensland who was onboard as a vet.
Rescue crews will resume the search once the typhoon passes. Three vessels, four planes and two divers had been taking part in the search.
In May last year, Australian authorities delayed the vessel’s departure from Broome to Indonesia by a week due to navigation and stability problems. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s website said the ship’s safety management system did not provide for adequate operational safety of navigation and management because it did not use the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). An ECDIS is a navigational system that makes it easier for ships to obtain directions and to navigate to pinpoint locations.
The report added that the system onboard did not have up-to-date charts, adding that the crew were not trained in how to use the system. The deficiencies were reported as having been rectified, with an additional audit carried out on the safety management system. No other serious deficiencies were reported.
A spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand said standard safety surveys were undertaken on the Gulf Livestock 1 both on arrival at and departure from Napier port, including inspections of livestock carriers and pens. “No irregularities or issues were noted,” the spokesperson said.
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