The last movements of the cargo ship that went missing after sending a distress signal during Typhoon Maysak have been revealed by marine authorities.
Gulf Livestock 1, a livestock ship carrying 43 crew and 5800 cattle, was on its way to China from New Zealand, when a typhoon hit, causing the vessel to capsize.
A map released by Marine Traffic, a global leading ship tracking service, shows the vessel’s last movements in the East China Sea.
The ship issued a distress signal at 1.45am Tokyo time on Wednesday and judging from its track and track of Typhoon Maysak, experts believe it may have been caught in the centre of the freak wave, forcing it to capsize.
RELATED: Aussie named on board missing ship
This was later confirmed by the vessel’s chief officer, 45-year-old Sareno Edvardo, who is so far the only survivor.
He was rescued late Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after the distress signal and was hospitalised on the Japanese island of Amami Oshima.
Images show Mr Edvardo, of the Philippines, wearing a life jacket as he bobbed in dark waters.
He told rescuers the ship had suffered engine failure during the typhoon, where she had turned broadside towards all the strength of waves and winds of up to 240km/ph, before capsizing.
“When it was capsizing, an on-board announcement instructed us to wear a life jacket,”
Mr Edvardo said, according to the Japanese Coast Guard.
“So I wore a life jacket and jumped into the sea.”
The survivor said he had watched the ship sink.
On-board the vessel were also two Australians, one identified as Queensland vet Lukas Orda, two New Zealanders, as well as a crew including 39 people from the Philippines and one person from Singapore. There were also 5800 head of cattle.
ANOTHER TYPHOON SET TO STRIKE SEARCH AREA
The Japanese Coast Guard has spent the day conducting a large air and sea search for the vessel or any crew members but so far to no avail.
There are three coast guard vessels, five planes and specially trained divers involved in the search-and-rescue mission.
However, the operation is expected to face more challenges with another typhoon forecast to pass right through the search area on Sunday, according to local forecasters.
It has been reported as the third strongest ever recorded typhoon to strike, as Japan currently faces its annual typhoon season.
The second massive storm will potentially limit the time the coast guard can continue to search.
The ship, which was charged by Australia-based Australasian Global Exports to carry livestock, was travelling from Napier in New Zealand to the Chinese port of Tangshan.
Australasian Global Exports said it was in contact with the families of some of the crew, as well as with local authorities, but offered no further details.
“Our thoughts and prayers are also with the ship’s officers, crew and other personnel and their families,” it said.
Queensland vet Lukas Orda, who is married with a six-month-old son, has been named as one of the Australians on board the missing cargo ship.
Mr Orda studied at James Cook University and worked at the Gold Coast Equine Clinic before joining the cattle export ship as a veterinary officer in June.
The vet’s last post was on June 24, writing, “And the first 20 day stretch of my trip starts…..”
It was accompanied by a map showing he was travelling to Yantai, China from Port of Portland in Victoria.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) chief executive Mark Harvey-Sutton said it is a “tragedy unfolding” as they wait anxiously for news.
“It is a very close-knit community the live stock industry both here (Australia) and in New Zealand, so everyone is very concerned about the situation and we’re just hoping for the best,” Mr Harvey-Sutton told ABC news.
He said that while the industry holds onto hope, “as time passes that hope decreases”.
“I can’t contemplate the scenario (their families) are facing, particularly so young in their careers — it is incredibly sad if our worst fears are met. Our thoughts and industry’s thoughts are with the families,” the CEO told Seven News on Thursday.
Mr Harvey-Sutton said it is common for Australians involved in the live stock industry to supply their trades globally.
“It’s a valued skillet and Australians are very good at it, so it’s not uncommon for Australians to be on livestock vessels around the world at any one time.”
He said their jobs are to look after the animals both from a veterinary perspective and general stock handling point of view.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said it was temporarily suspending live cattle exports after the accident.
“MPI wants to understand what happened on the sailing of the Gulf Livestock 1,” it said