Missing livestock carrier with two New Zealanders onboard sank during rough weather - survivor

A crew member plucked from the sea during a search for a missing livestock ship has confirmed it sank during rough weather, the Japan Coastguard says.

The Filipino man was rescued after being spotted bobbing in the water.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said it was providing assistance to the families of two New Zealanders onboard the Gulf Livestock 1, which was reported missing off the coast of Japan during a typhoon.

The crew included 39 people from the Philippines, two from New Zealand, and two from Australia, the coastguard said.

Strong winds and rains from Typhoon Maysak were hampering rescue efforts as the storm moved on to drench the Korean peninsula.

A spokeswoman for the coastguard said one person was rescued on Wednesday night (local time) during the search for the ship.

The rescued Filipino crew member said the ship's engine failed before it was hit by a wave and capsized, a second coastguard spokeswoman said.

Pictures provided by the coastguard showed a crew member in a lifejacket being hauled from choppy seas in darkness.

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 animal export trade, worth around $54 million in 2019, after thousands of animals being exported from NZ and Australia died in transit.

A conditional ban of the live export of cattle was one of several options being considered, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.

Reuters / Newshub.