7 Sep 2020

Gulf Livestock 1: Mother of man missing after cattle ship capsized wants answers from government

9:33 am on 7 September 2020

The family of a man missing after the livestock export ship he was on capsized and sank in the East China Sea says the government is not doing enough to find him.

Scott Harris onboard the Gulf Livestock One.

Scott Harris onboard the Gulf Livestock 1. Photo: Supplied / Karen Adrian

Father of two Scott Harris, 37, is one of two New Zealanders on the Gulf Livestock 1, as well as 41 other crew.

Harris was working as the herd manager of the almost 6000 cattle on board the ship.

A second typhoon was due to hit the area over the weekend.

Despite that his mother Karen Adrian said the family has not given up hope of finding him alive but time is ticking and she wants the government to help with the search and rescue efforts.

She said it was her son's maiden voyage and she just wants him found and brought home.

"He is the most loyal kindest loving son that any mum could want, you know he still says 'I love you' when he leaves me, you know he's just gorgeous really, popular, lots of friends."

She said it has been awful for the family.

"It's just horrendous, it's heart-breaking, it's unfair, it's lonely."

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Scott Harris was on his first voyage. Photo: Supplied / Karen Adrian

She said she does not feel she has been kept up-to-date by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and she has not heard from the government at all.

"I know Jacinda [Ardern] was up there saying that she understands that there's support in place, that is not true, we have not heard from the government at all, not nothing.

"You know we need help, I've got questions I need to have asked, 'why aren't we in there helping' 'how do I get to Japan' 'should I not go?', you know we're just alone out here with no support."

Adrian said she has a lot of questions she wants answered about what happened on the boat.

"They must know that, so what are the protocols, can I get a a translation of the second survivor's testimony?

"I want to know what the sequence of events were according to those two survivors, the timeframe, like after the engine failed, which it did, how long did it take before the emergency systems were activated ... when were they told to put their lifejackets on, were they told to abandon ship - can they confirm all that happened?"

She said the survivors could answer these questions.

Adrian said two lifeboats are visible, one is in the water but she wants to know whether the other managed to get off the ship.

She also wants to know whether or not they have found the boat.

She asks what sort of training was given onboard to deal with such an emergency, since her son would not have had a clue what to do since it was his maiden voyage.

Gulf Livestock 1 vessel off the shores of Malaga in 2018.

Gulf Livestock 1 vessel off the shores of Malaga in 2018. Photo: Frans Truyens via Vessel Finder

Adrian wants to know how long they are going to keep looking and why New Zealand has not deployed a search and rescue squad to help, but said she was told by MFAT that they had to be invited.

"Why aren't we saying 'we're coming' there are two New Zealanders in the South China Sea who need help and we're doing nothing about that.

"I just think it's appalling, I know there's been two typhoons, I know the chances are slim, but there's still a chance, you know they could be in that other lifeboat."

RNZ was put in contact with Karen Adrian by National's Simon Bridges.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, unfortunately, they don't have a lot of information about the missing Kiwis.

"I can only imagine how distressing that will be," she said.

Ardern said the embassy in Tokyo has sought an update from the Japanese Coastguard but they didn't have anything to pass on. The search has been temporarily suspended due to the latest typhoon.

She said Adrian should be able to have her questions answered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about New Zealand's efforts and whether she should travel to Japan and will personally seek assurances that messages are getting through.

RNZ has spoken to the family of Lochie Bellerby, the other New Zealander on the ship, but they didn't want to comment publicly.

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