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Rescued crewman from ship sunk off Japan dies, bishop urges prayers for those still missing

A crewman from a cattle ship that capsized enroute from New Zealand to China has died after being pulled unconscious from water by the Japanese coastguard on Sept. 4.

The unidentified man was only the second crewman to be found. The coastguard said the man had died a short time after they pulled him from the sea about 120 km north-northwest of Amami Oshima Island and transferred him to hospital.

The search is still on for the remaining 41 crew members after the ship carrying 6,000 cattle capsized in the East China Sea on Sept. 2.

Rescuers also found a life jacket and cattle carcasses in the area where the Gulf Livestock 1 is believed to have sunk after it sent a distress call amid strong winds and heavy seas whipped up by Typhoon Maysak.

Gulf Livestock 1, owned by UAE-based Gulf Navigation, lost engine power before it was hit by a massive wave, according to Chief Officer Sareno Edvarodo, who was rescued on Sept. 2. Edvarodo, a Filipino, remains in hospital.

Several maritime reports logged over the past two years showed the ship may have had some mechanical defects and revealed operational concerns.

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines called on the faithful to pray for the safety of those still missing.

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“We have to pray more and hope for the best,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

“We implore our almighty God to give us miracles that they will be spared and eventually saved,” he said. “We must turn to God and trust Him all the more,” he added.

The prelate also called on everyone to “work together” and “do what is necessary” to search and rescue the missing seafarers.

The Apostleship of the Seas also appealed to chaplains to pray and offer Holy Masses for the welfare of the seafarers.

A Filipino crew member believed to be onboard Gulf Livestock 1, a cargo ship carrying livestock and dozens of crew members that went missing after issuing a distress signal due to Typhoon Maysak, is rescued by a Japanese coastguard boat on Sept. 2. (Photo by Japan Coast Guard, 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters/Handout via Reuters TV)

Search continues

The Japanese coastguard said on Sept. 4 it had not set a deadline to end the search for survivors from the ship, which left Napier port in New Zealand on Aug. 14 and was due to arrive 17 days later at the Port of Jingtang in Tangshan, China.

Four vessels, an airplane and several divers were scouring the waters on Friday when they discovered the second crew member, who has not been publicly identified.

The crew was made up of 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand, and two from Australia, the coastguard said.

With Reuters

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