The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo on Thursday confirmed that 39 Filipinos were on board a cargo ship that went missing after sending a distress signal from the East China Sea on Wednesday.
“39 Filipino crew-members onboard the vessel. We are waiting for new updates from the Japanese authorities on the status of the rescue operation. We are praying for their safety, too,” Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre Bolivar told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
A report from Japan’s Kyodo News said that one of the Filipino crewmembers was earlier rescued and that his “health condition was not life-threatening”. The embassy, however, has yet to confirm this as of posting.
The Panamanian-registered freighter carrying 43 foreign crewmembers and about 5,800 cows was on its way to the Chinese port of Tangshan from New Zealand when it issued a distress signal about 185 kilometers west of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.
The crew also reportedly include two New Zealanders and two Australians.
The call for help came as strong winds and torrential rain lashed the area due to Typhoon Maysak.
“The Philippines Embassy in Tokyo and the Philippines Consulate General in Osaka are coordinating with Japan Coast Guard on this. No additional details as of this time,” Bolivar said.
PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY