She added that the cows on the vessel were likely pregnant and should not have been at sea in the first place.
The ship, Gulf Livestock 1, was believed to have 43 crew members, including 39 from the Philippines, the Japanese Coast Guard said. The foreign ministries of New Zealand and Australia each said that two of their countries’ citizens were among the crew.
The Philippines is one of the world’s leading suppliers of merchant seafarers, whose remittances help to fuel the country’s economy. Last year, there were nearly 500,000 Filipino seafarers, on vessels ranging from oil tankers to cruise ships.
The livestock carrier left Napier, New Zealand, on Aug. 14 with a cargo of 5,867 cattle, and had been expected to arrive in the Chinese port city of Tangshan about 17 days later, New Zealand’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Gulf Livestock 1, a 456-foot ship, is registered in Panama and was built as a livestock carrier in 2002, according to VesselFinder.com, a tracking website. A photo on the site shows cattle berths stacked high on its deck, as rooms might be on a luxury cruise liner. The ship’s registered owner is Rahmeh Compania Naviera SA, a company based in Amman, Jordan, Reuters reported.
The Japanese Coast Guard said that the ship sent its distress signal at 1:44 a.m. on Wednesday, from a spot in the East China Sea that is about 100 nautical miles west of the southern Japanese island of Amami Oshima.
Mr. Edvardo, the sole crew member to be rescued, was hospitalized on the island on Thursday morning and was able to walk, said Yuichiro Higashi, a spokesman for the Coast Guard. He said that vessels from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force were assisting in the rescue effort.