Family of Kiwi missing after livestock ship sinking engages experts to create map of where crew could be

The family of one of the two Kiwis missing at sea after the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 off the coast of Japan has engaged shipping and marine experts to estimate where they could have drifted to.

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A spokesperson for Lachie Bellerby’s family says it has updated coordinates from experts on where the crew could’ve drifted. Source: 1 NEWS

The Gulf Livestock 1 went down in Typhoon Maysak in the East China Sea on September 3 - two Filipino crew members have been found alive, and one has been found dead.

Japanese authorities formally suspended full-time search efforts for the crew last week on September 9, but the families of the two Kiwis on board - Lochie Bellerby and Scott Harris - have urged authorities to continue the search.

Bellerby's family has been working with independent maritime and marine experts to estimate where the crew could have drifted to following the sinking, and has urged authorities to continue searching.

New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has said he is supportive of an effort to recover the ship's black box, but has stopped short of committing New Zealand search resources.

Bellerby's family said that their latest estimates suggest life boats could now have drifted past the Japanese island of Tanega Shima as they are carried by the Kuroshio Current.

"Detailed information and maps have been given to MFAT, Maritime NZ, NZTA and the Prime Minister's office this morning to expedite this time-critical information through to the Japanese authorities," the Bellerby family said.

"We hope that immediate action can be taken to target the search for the 40 missing crew."

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Manawatu resident Scott Harris can be seen in the video. Source: 1 NEWS

The family has said that, rather than focusing on recovering the ship's black box, efforts should instead be made to search the islands near the site of the sinking and along the expected drift path of any life boats.

"Survival is still possible - in time, information obtained from any black box would be welcomed, but let's bring the crew home first," the family said.

According to advice received by the family, survivors could be drifting in a northeasterly direction off the southeast coast of Japan, roughly in the area of 30 35N, 132 00 E.

The family said yesterday that MFAT had been receptive to passing along information to Japanese authorities as quickly as possible.