After 2-day search, China says 'no trace' of missing Filipino seamen in its waters

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2020 07:42 PM

MANILA — The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said Thursday the Chinese coast guard found "no trace" in its waters of any Filipino survivor who went missing after their cattle ship capsized off Japan amid a storm over 3 weeks ago. 

China was one of the countries whose help was sought by the Philippine government to locate the 36 Filipino seafarers who went missing after their typhoon-battered vessel was overturned off Japan. 

The Chinese Embassy said Beijing's coast guards conducted search operations for 2 days but yielded no results. 

"[T]he China Coast Guard has already conducted rescue operations in relevant waters to search the 36 missing crew members of Panamanian Vessel M/V Gulf Livestock on two executive days of 19 and 20 September, but regretfully found no trace of missing crew members," it said. 

Despite this, the Embassy said China would continue to provide assistance to find the missing seafarers. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crew members. We will continue to provide necessary assistance as requested by the Philippine side and sincerely hope all of them could be found at the earliest," it added. 

The ship, longer than a soccer field and carrying some 6,000 cows, was on its way to Japan from New Zealand during the onslaught of Typhoon Haishen.

It lost an engine as it traversed choppy seas off the coast of Japan. Then a wave flooded its deck in the dark of night, forcing the vessel to list at a precarious angle, according to Filipino survivor Sareno Edvardo. 

Two Filipinos were rescued while a third Filipino crew member eventually died after he was rescued. 

The sunken ship's crew was made up of 39 Filipinos, 2 New Zealanders and 2 Australians. The boat was traveling from Napier in New Zealand to the Chinese port of Tangshan.

It issued a distress call on the early morning of Sept. 2 as Typhoon Maysak passed through the area, setting off a desperate search for the 43 crew on board. — with a report from Agence France-Presse