More than $19k raised to help find missing crew

Southland man Lochie Bellerby, one of the two New Zealanders who were on the ship. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Southland man Lochie Bellerby, one of the two New Zealanders who were on the ship. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
More than $19,000 has been raised to fund ongoing search efforts to bring a Southland man and 39 other missing crew home after the Gulf Livestock 1 sank off the coast of Japan this month.

Lochie Bellerby went missing after the boat he and fellow New Zealander Scott Harris were working on, sank with 43 people on board during a typhoon on September 2.

While the Japanese Coastguard had only so far recovered three people, including one who was deceased, the Bellerby family still believed Lochie could be alive.

A Givealittle page was launched yesterday after they slammed the New Zealand Government for its lack of support and said they had ‘‘no choice’’ but to prepare to launch their own rescue plan.

In 24 hours, the page had raised a $19,004 of its $100,000 goal.

A statement on the page said the funds raised would be pooled together with those raised by Australians involved to push the private search efforts forward.

‘‘Whether that be by satellite and drone surveillance technology, chartered search and rescue devices, media awareness campaigns and search incentives.

‘‘People have survived 41 days on a life raft in this very area before.’’

Mr Bellerby was described as ‘‘a legend loved by many’’.

‘‘He is extremely capable, adventurous and without a doubt possesses the character needed to not only get through this but to help pull others through.’’

In a statement today, family spokeswoman Sue Sherburd said the family understood all information it was providing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade [MFAT] with was being passed on to on to the Japanese Coastguard.

However, they needed it to be a two-way street.

‘‘While this is a step forward, the family continue to seek more information from MFAT, including full, unfiltered survivor statements including the events leading up to the capsize of the ship, and Search and Rescue details of the search area undertaken by the Japanese Coastguard.’’

It would be ‘‘critical’’ information for any future targeted search, they said.

Advice was continuing to be gathered from marine authorities and search experts as to how to escalate and deploy a targeted search off the coast of Japan.

They were also pushing to have regular information bulletins sent to ships passing through the area.

‘‘The family are working with the Australian families and supporters to combine efforts as best they can, and remain grateful for all the support and advice with search efforts so far.’’

abbey.palmer@odt.co.nz

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