Hope is fading for a sailor who fell off a ship off the coast of Otago

The sailor disappeared from the Mount Rishiri, a bulk carrier sailing to Napier under the flag of the Isle of Man.


The sailor disappeared from the Mount Rishiri, a bulk carrier sailing to Napier under the flag of the Isle of Man.

Hopes are fading for a sailor missing at sea for more than 24 hours off the coast of Otago.

The search for the man who is believed to have fallen overboard from the bulk carrier “Berge Rishiri” has been suspended.

According to South Port’s shipping schedule, the ship was scheduled to leave Bluff by 1 a.m. on Saturday.

A Maritime New Zealand spokesman said the Chinese national was last seen Saturday at 8am finishing his shift and did not report for duty at 4pm, prompting Maritime New Zealand’s rescue coordination center to call (RCCNZ) was alerted.

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The crew searched the ship, the ship returned along its route to search for him, and a helicopter and nearby ship searched extensively along the Otago coast.

“A cold water survivability expert hired by RCCNZ believes there is little chance the person would have survived,” the spokesman said Sunday night.

All “search resources” have been retired until a search has been reviewed and scored.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the missing person. Shipping related broadcasts will continue to be sent to the area, urging all ships to keep a sharp lookout.”

The loss of the crew member “is of great concern,” Maritime Union New Zealand (MUNZ) said.

“We would like to know how long the seafarers have been at sea and on duty, and we would have assurance that they were not being kept on the ship longer than their contractually agreed time,” said National Secretary Craig Harrison.

“We’ve seen major mental health problems in seafarers who have basically been held captive on ships for months and sometimes years.”

Harrison calls on Maritime New Zealand to investigate whether crew had adequate rest periods.

“These crew members are in New Zealand waters, their work is essential to New Zealand and we believe their rights and welfare are often overlooked.”

Berge Rishiri is a 180m bulk carrier registered and sailing under the flag of the Isle of Man.

Napier Port plans for the ship to arrive at 6pm on Monday and transport logs from Bluff. It was then destined for Marsden Point in Northland.

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