Japan eases search for missing crew on sunken ship

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The Japanese Coast Guard has halted search operations for the mostly Filipino crew members of the missing Gulf Livestock-1 ship, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — The Japanese Coast Guard has modified search operations to its usual sea patrol for the mostly Filipino crew members of the missing Gulf Livestock 1 ship, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

Rescuers returned to normal sea patrol without a trace of the vessel since Saturday, said the DFA, which is closely coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda said this means search and rescue will still continue.

Of the initial 39 Filipinos among the reported missing, only three have been found so far — two were alive while another was dead.

"The DFA joins the families and loved ones in continued prayers for the missing seafarers," the agency said on Twitter.

The ship had a 43-member crew including four foreigners — two New Zealanders and two Australians — and carried more than 5,800 cows from Napier, New Zealand, to Tangshan, China, a CNN report said citing officials from Japan, New Zealand and Australia. The vessel left August 14 and went missing at the height of Typhoon Maysak. A second typhoon interrupted search efforts last weekend.

This story has been updated to include the Ambassador's statement.