Stars back call to keep looking for missing crew
THE Australian and Japanese governments have been accused of giving up on the crew of a ship lost in the East China Sea, despite suggestions there is every chance they are still alive.
It comes as local politicians and some of our most well-known celebrities have backed the families of the Australian crew to demand the search is maintained.
It appears the Australian Government has offered to help, but the Japanese Government has yet to accept, meaning the search has all but been abandoned.
Mount Isa MP Robbie Katter said the Government seemed to be putting its relationship with Japan ahead of its job of protecting Australians. Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said the Government should show some sympathy.
The Gulf Livestock 1 sank after capsizing in heavy seas whipped up by Typhoon Maysak on September 2.
It was in transit to China from New Zealand carrying 5800 cattle and 43 crew.
The Japanese Coast Guard, using several aircraft and vessels, has found three crew, including two survivors, but has since scaled back its search.
Two Australians, stockman William Mainprize and Townsville-trained veterinarian Lukas Orda, remain missing, along with 38 other crew.
One of the ship's lifeboats and four life rafts provisioned with food and water for 30 days are unaccounted for.
The Mainprize family has launched a petition (change.org/findmymate) calling on governments to continue the search.
It has more than 55,000 signatures including those of celebrities, athletes and musicians Russell Crowe, Mick Fanning, Johnathan Thurston, Kelly Slater, Steph Claire Smith, Sammy Robinson, Gang of Youths and DMA's.
The Mainprize family says reports are that all but three crew members were on the ship's bridge before it sank, preparing to board life vessels.
A long-term friend of William Mainprize, Tom Suttor, says William is a wilderness guide and survival expert.
"Will has got so much survival experience. I am sure he is leading the survival efforts of the whole crew," Mr Suttor said. And Will's older brother, Tom Mainprize said: "Everyone's referring to this as a tragedy but we've got every chance to turn it around into this awesome story of hope and survival."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says Japan is continuing the search but Mr Katter says this is misleading because the search has been scaled back to normal operations.
A spokesman for the Japanese Coast Guard supported this view, telling the Bulletin the search was continuing "in accordance with our routine patrols".
Mr Harper said: "The Federal Government spent last week talking about sympathy - it's time for them to show some.
Mr McCormack told media on Wednesday he had "every faith" the search was continuing. "That search has been done by the Japanese Coast Guard. Australia has every faith in the Japanese Coast Guard to have looked everywhere for that capsized vessel, all those people who have been lost on that particular boat," Mr McCormack said. "It is a tragic situation. It's a fortnight today since it occurred and every effort is being made to find the ship and find those aboard.
"We've not given up hope and we won't and we we'll see how the situation unfolds."
But Mr Mainprize's sister, Sarah, said her family understood the Government could not step in unless they were invited by the Japanese.
They have started a GoFundMe campaign, so far raising almost $50,000. "At the moment, we are doing what we can to complement the efforts by (the Japanese Coast Guard)," Ms Mainprize said.
"If anyone survives, it is absolutely William. He will be assisting all the crew to make sure they survive too."
Originally published as Stars back call to keep looking for missing crew