A man, a Chinese national, was seen last Saturday at 8 am when he completed his shift, Maritime NZ mentioned in a statement today.
He failed to report at 4 pm for duty on Saturday.
The crew members searched the vessel, and the ship got back along its track to look for signs of the missing individual in the water, Maritime NZ mentioned in a statement.
A thorough search around the Otago coast was carried out with an Otago Rescue Helicopter and a closeby vessel.
The search is temporarily on hold as a thorough review is undertaken to assess the likely success of the additional search effort.
A cold-water survivability specialist has been engaged by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) and believes there is little possibility the person would have survived. The search assets have now been withdrawn pending the review and search assessment. The statements mentioned that their thoughts and prayers are with the near and dear ones of the missing Chinese individual.
Broadcasts continue shipping carried out in the area, requesting vessels maintain a strict lookout.
Maritime Union urges thorough investigation; in a statement published on Sunday night, Craig Harrison, the National Secretary of the Maritime Union of New Zealand, mentioned that such as incident is more common than people are aware of, adding that the loss of a crew member on a bulk carrier is undoubtedly concerning.
He added that New Zealand has to step up and do more to safeguard the welfare of international crew members in their territorial waters. Harrison mentioned that he would like Maritime New Zealand to examine whether the crew members were taking adequate rest breaks and that they weren’t needed to secure cargo when underway. He said that it’s a typical practice with a few New Zealand stevedores with poor standards to have overseas seafarers lash the cargoes when a vessel is underway, rather than shore-based stevedores carrying out the work at the port.
He said the sea time the crew member had also been working needed to be examined. He added that the authorities would like to know how long the seafarer was at sea as well as on duty and have assurances that they were not kept on the vessel longer than the contracted period, as rising mental health issues have been observed among seafarers kept captive on vessels for several months and sometimes years.
Harrison mentioned that the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Maritime Union would like to meet the crew members and discuss their welfare and what the shipping company, company, and cargo owners are doing for the crew and family members of the lost seafarer.
He urged relevant New Zealand authorities to do an investigation into this incident.
About 400,000 seafarers are working on cargo vessels all over the world. Official figures reflect that between 2015 and 2019, about 527 were reportedly killed at sea, and almost 509 went missing.
Reference: 1news, nzherald
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