William Mainprize, from Sydney, was one of 43 crewmen and 6,000 on board the ship, the Gulf Livestock 1, when it was struck by a wild typhoon on September 2
The chilling final text messages from an Australian stockman have emerged before the ship he was working on sank to the bottom of the ocean off Japan’s coast.
William Mainprize, from Avalon on Sydney’s northern Beaches, was lost at sea when the Gulf of Livestock 1 capsized after being caught in a typhoon on September 2.
He was among a crew of 43, including a second Australian, Lukas Orda, from Queensland, on board the ship – which was also carrying 6,000 animals.
Text messages from the 27-year-old reveal the panicked final moments as the ship began to sink.
‘We are in the middle of a typhoon and engine control room is taking on water,’ William Mainprize wrote.
‘Engine is off and we are floating sideways in huge sea.
His older sister Emily Hastings (pictured with brother William Mainprize) has urged her friends to pray for her brother’s safe return
The stockman’s chilling final text messages have emerged as the ship began to take on water during the wild storm
‘Oh man it’s pretty hairy. Not sure of the severity of it at the moment.’
In an earlier series of messages between Mr Mainprize and his girlfriend Charlie Gray, he seemed unconcerned about the days ahead.
‘So we’re hitting the centre of the typhoon at midnight tonight. 175km/hour winds,’ he wrote.
‘No way around this sucka!’
The Gulf Livestock 1 capsized last Wednesday as Typhoon Maysak blasted the region, having left the New Zealand port of Napier bound for China.
Two survivors have so far been found but Japanese media, citing the nation’s coastguard, said the second man had died in hospital.
The rescue effort had been hampered by continued storms and it was suspended on Wednesday.
The Mainprize family has thanked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for their assistance, but expressed regret at the search suspension.
The stockman’s family (pictured) has issued a statement describing the 27-year-old as the ‘kindest’ and most ‘generous’ person
His family are pleading for assistance to help find Will
‘We are so thankful to those organisations and the Australian public for their thoughts and prayers but we need more help,’ the spokesperson said.
‘There are still so many unanswered questions and this is a time sensitive matter. There are 40 men still at sea and one life boat missing along with life rafts.
‘We are hopeful that our dear William is out there with the other remaining crew waiting to be rescued.’
The family also condemned online comments from vegan trolls who said it was ‘karma’ the live export ship had capsized.
‘As an Australian Certified Stockperson on board the vessel, part of Will’s role was to uphold and monitor the welfare standards of animals on the ship,’ they said.
‘This function was what attracted him to the job and he developed a great bond with the cattle in his care on these long trips.
‘He has a beautiful calm, brave and fun approach to life,’ the family said
His sister Emily described his love for adventure and the outdoors
‘He would often share updates with his family about individual animals and their well-being via WhatsApp.’
The family spoke of him as the ‘kindest’ and most ‘generous’ person who was dedicated to make a positive contribution to everything around him.
‘He has a beautiful calm, brave and fun approach to life,’ the statement reads.
‘As a family we know he would have been so brave during this tragic incident involving the Gulf Livestock 1 ship and he no doubt would have been looking out for the other crew members on board in the middle of the crisis.’
Meanwhile his older sister Emily Hastings has urged her friends to pray for her brother’s safe return.
‘Believing he is looking after the other crew with him. Join me in praying boldly and specifically for his life and the other crew with me,’ she wrote in an emotional post on Instagram.
He then continued this work as a tour guide in the Tasmanian wilderness, helping to teach survival skills and foster a love of the outdoors in young people
‘Love you Will, my dear little brother, stay strong.’
She described him as ‘so full of joy, adventure, with the biggest heart’ as she shared family photos of them from happier times.
While he was a student at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Will worked as a teacher’s aide focused on at-risk youths in the community.
He then continued this work as a tour guide in the Tasmanian wilderness, helping to teach survival skills and foster a love of the outdoors in young people.
A petition calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to resume its search has received more than 3,000 signatures since it was created eight hours ago.
‘Anything we can do right now to make noise, spread awareness and create attention to this issue is absolutely necessary,’ the petition reads.
‘We believe Will and these men to still be alive, but time is of the essence.’
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Daily Mail Australia it was restricted in what they could say due to privacy obligations.
‘The Australian Government is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australian crew members on board a cargo vessel reported missing in Japanese waters,’ the spokesperson said.
The ship was also carrying two New Zealand Nationals Scott Harris and Lochie Bellerby.
Photos from inside Gulf Livestock 1 show the ship taking on water on September 1
The captain of Gulf Livestock 1 (pictured) sent a distress call to the Japanese Coast Guard at about 1.20am on September 2, the ship’s instruments showed the ship was sailing into high winds of 56 knots