MANILA - Search and rescue operations for the crew, which include Filipinos, of a cargo ship that sank last week off Japan due to a typhoon are continuing, the Japanese envoy in Manila said Thursday, contrary to an advisory earlier in the day by the Philippine foreign affairs department.
“Japan Coast Guard is still continuing Search and Rescue Operation on the Gulf Livestock 1 case. We pray for additional rescues, as many as possible,” Ambassador Koji Haneda said on Twitter.
According to the embassy, reports that the “Japan Coast Guard has already halted the search and rescue operation on the Gulf Livestock 1… is not correct.”
The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs said earlier Thursday that the Japanese coast guard has returned to its “usual patrol arrangements as they have found no trace of the ship” since Sept. 5, Saturday.
"The DFA joins the families and loved ones in continued prayers for the missing seafarers," the DFA had said.
The sunken ship's crew was made up of 39 Filipinos, 2 New Zealanders and 2 Australians. The boat, carrying around 6,000 cows, was traveling from Napier in New Zealand to the Chinese port of Tangshan.
It issued a distress call on the early morning of Sep. 2 as Typhoon Maysak passed through the area.
The Japanese Coast Guard earlier found the remains of a Filipino seafarer, while two Filipino survivors have been in contact with their families in the Philippines, the agency earlier said. Over 30 Filipino crew members remain missing.
In his tweet, Haneda said, “My thoughts are with the missing crew, their families, and people of the Philippines.”
- With reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News, and Agence France-Presse