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What happened to Gulf Livestock 1? Questions remain unanswered a year on from sunken live export ship

What happened to Gulf Livestock 1? Questions remain unanswered a year on from sunken live export ship

It has been 12 months since a live export ship sank off the Japanese coast, nonetheless a collection of details about the tragedy remain a thriller.

Key facets:

  • The Gulf Livestock 1 sank in September 2020 with 43 crew participants and around 6,000 head of cattle on board
  • One year on and there has no longer been any information released from an inquiry
  • The Australia authorities says it continues to work with international counterparts to discover what happened

The Gulf Livestock 1 was transporting cattle from Unusual Zealand to China in September 2020 when it capsized in rough seas caused by Typhoon Maysak. 

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It had 43 crew participants on board, including two Australians, two Unusual Zealanders, and 39 Filipinos.

Only two survivors have been ever came upon.

Live export trade vet Ross Ainsworth said the trade was peaceful seeking answers.

“Unfortunately we all know absolutely nothing more than what we learned at the time via news reports,” Dr Ainsworth told ABC Rural.

Dr Ainsworth said the Gulf Livestock 1 was a Panama-registered vessel and the normal practice can be for Panama to lead the inquiry.

“However I contemplate it can be appropriate for [the Australian government] to achieve an effort in, to attempt to discover what on earth happened and gain this document released,” he said.

“Because in declare to stop this [type of accident] from happening again, you would have to have some manufacture of idea of what caused it within the first place.”

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Footage shot by Lukas Orda from the bridge of the Gulf Livestock 1 in heavy seas.

‘This can take time’ says Ag Minister

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said his authorities was doing all it may to assist the investigation.

“I do know from conversations I’ve had with the International Affairs Minister [Marise Payne], that she continues to reach out with counterparts to gain updates,” he said.

“We’re making an attempt to use our authorities agencies to toughen those international agencies in being able to gain some finalisation to these families who deserve it.

“However it is a complex situation because it didn’t happen in our waters, it happened in international waters and we have to recognize the sovereignty of alternative nations, nonetheless attempt and work with them to gain that information as posthaste as we can.

Man in blue cap and shirt holding a goat

Australian vet Lukas Orda was working on the Gulf Livestock 1 when it went lacking on September 2, 2020.(

Supplied: Facebook


Sophisticated time for everyone

The manager executive of the NT Livestock Exporters Association (NTLEA), Tom Dawkins, said the Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy had affected many internal the trade.

He said transparency was crucial for the trade and families who had lost loved ones.

“A modern trade acknowledges its past and learns from its experiences,” he said.

“That’s why it’s important we retract seeking answers about Gulf Livestock 1.

“That tragedy, coupled with the travel restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, has made for an extraordinarily complicated 12 to 18 months for our very tight-knit community of shipboard vets and stockies.”

You view a grid of headshots of the 40 men who remain missing at sea because of the Gulf Livestock 1 disaster.

Only two survivors have been came upon.(

Facebook: Save the Forty


Dr Ainsworth said when the Gulf Livestock 1 sank in September 2020, he was on board another live export vessel within the south China sea heading for Vietnam.

“It was a bad time to be on board because a lot of the Filipino crew had mates on that ship [the Gulf Livestock 1],” he said.

“It’d be very valuable for everyone fervent and everyone with an pastime in checking out, to access [the final] document.”

ABC Rural has contacted the Panama Maritime Authority and the Panama Embassy in Australia for comment.

What happened to Gulf Livestock 1? Questions remain unanswered a year on from sunken live export ship