A ship carrying 43 crew including two Australians and nearly 6000 cattle from New Zealand to China has capsized after losing an engine in stormy weather in the East China Sea.
Only one seaman, a Flipino, has so far been rescued.
Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress call from the west of Amami Oshima island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday as the region experienced strong winds, heavy seas and drenching rains from Typhoon Maysak as it headed towards the Korean peninsula.
Japan's coastguard said it rescued 45-year-old chief officer Sareno Edvarodo on Wednesday night while searching for the ship.
According to Edvarodo, the vessel lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized, a coastguard spokeswoman said.
When the ship capsized, crew were instructed to put on lifejackets. Edvarodo said he jumped into the water and did not see any other crew before he was rescued.
Pictures provided by the coastguard showed a person in a lifejacket being hauled from choppy seas in darkness.
The carrier departed Napier in New Zealand on August 14 with 5,867 cattle and 43 crew members on board, bound for the Port of Jingtang in Tangshan, China.
The journey was expected to take about 17 days, New Zealand's foreign ministry said.
The crew included 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia, the coastguard said.
The 139 metre Panamanian-flagged vessel was built in 2002 and the registered owner is Amman-based Rahmeh Compania Naviera SA, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. The ship manager is Hijazi & Ghosheh Co.
New Zealand animal rights organisation, SAFE, said the tragedy demonstrated the risks of the live animal export trade.
"These cows should never have been at sea," said Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald.
"This is a real crisis, and our thoughts are with the families of the 43 crew who are missing with the ship. But questions remain, including why this trade is allowed to continue."
Last year, New Zealand's government launched a review of country's live export trade, worth around $NZ54 million ($A50 million) in 2019, after thousands of animals being exported from New Zealand and Australia died in transit.
A conditional ban on the live export of cattle was one of several options being considered, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.
Australian Associated Press
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