Survivor claims missing cattle carrier capsized due to engine failure

Filipino sailor Eduardo Sareno being rescued by the crew of a Japanese patrol boat hours after the cargo ship Gulf Livestock 1 capsized in the East China Sea on September 2, 2020 (Photo: Japan Coast Guard)

A sailor who was rescued hours after the ship he was serving on had disappeared claims engine failure had caused that same vessel to capsize in typhoon-hit waters in the East China Sea off southwestern Japan.

The individual has been identified as 45-year-old chief officer Eduardo Sareno, one of 39 Filipino nationals among the 43-strong crew of the live export ship Gulf Livestock 1.

So far, Mr Sareno is the only one of Gulf Livestock 1‘s crew to be accounted for after he was picked up in the waters off Amami-Oshima Island by Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) personnel in the late evening (local time) of Wednesday, September 2.

Despite the worsening weather brought about by Typhoon Maysak, vessels of the JMSDF and the Japan Coast Guard are continuing to patrol the area near the live export ship’s last reported position 185 kilometres west of Amami-Oshima to attempt to locate any trace of the 42 missing sailors.

Mr Sareno told coast guard officials that, shortly after 01:00 on Wednesday, Gulf Livestock 1 lost an engine, compelling the captain to send out a distress call.

When the vessel began to capsize after it was struck by a large wave, the captain ordered the crew to don life jackets and abandon ship.

Mr Sareno added that he did not see any of his shipmates from the time he jumped into the water to when he was rescued by the JMSDF personnel nearly 22 hours later.

The ship’s crew had also included two Australians and two New Zealanders as confirmed by the foreign ministries of the two countries.

At the time of its disappearance, Gulf Livestock 1 was en route to China after having sailed out of New Zealand with approximately 5,800 cattle on board.

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