Lukas Orda’s family lay flowers in the ocean three years after sinking of Gulf Livestock 1

The family of a young Australian father who perished in the Gulf Livestock 1 disaster have marked the anniversary of the tragedy with a pledge to continue their unrelenting search for answers — even if federal authorities won’t support their fight.

September 2 marked three years since the cattle ship capsized in furious, typhoon-driven seas off the coast of Japan, taking 41 lives with it.

Beloved Queensland husband, dad and vet Lukas Orda, 25, was one of two Australians working on the Panamanian-flagged vessel when it was knocked over by a powerful wave.

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Orda’s son was just six months of age at the time he last made contact with loved ones.

His family will gather Saturday at a beach to lay flowers, as they have done in previous years, and have promised to continue searching for answers.

The Gulf’s history of mechanical problems, breakdowns and equipment and training issues came to the fore after the ship went down and an investigation into the incident by the Panama Maritime Authority left loved ones unsettled by its lack of detail.

“We’ve got no closure and have the heavy feeling something is wrong,” his father Dr Ulrich Orda said.

He has written to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hoping the federal government can push for a new probe into whether the ship was seaworthy and if all safety measures were followed.

Beyond an automatic reply, Dr Orda says he is yet to receive a response.

Queensland veterinarian Lukas Orda and wife Emma. Credit: Facebook
Lukas’ father Dr Ulrich Orda, pictured here in the days after the vessel vanished, said his family has no closure. Credit: 7NEWS

The other Australian on board was William Mainprize, 27.

The Gulf Livestock 1 was to be the popular NSW stockman’s last shipping job before he would have saved enough for a house deposit.

His family says September 2 is a difficult date that “brings a whole lot of sadness”.

Meanwhile New Zealand authorities are unlikely to act on an offer from one of the world’s premier ocean exploration specialists to assist any future attempt to retrieve the Gulf Livestock 1’s data recorder.

Loved ones of workers who never returned home say the device — which is like a plane’s black box, recording positioning, speed and some audio — would clarify why the ship was skippered into a disaster zone.

Legendary expedition leader Rob McCallum told he is up for retrieving the black box from the Gulf Livestock 1. Credit: EYOS Expeditions
The Gulf Livestock 1 was in operation for 18 years. Credit: AP

Legendary divemaster Rob McCallum, who has led expeditions to the ocean’s deepest points and the Titanic, was confident his team could locate the sunken ship and retrieve the recorder.

“As members of the maritime community we would consider it an honour to help bring closure to those who have lost loved ones at sea,” he told previously.

The Gulf Livestock 1 was transporting 6000 head of cattle from Napier Port in New Zealand to Jingtang in China during its final journey.

Officials from New Zealand, which also lost Lochie Bellerby and Scott Harris when the ship met its fate, appear unlikely to push for the search.

A spokesperson for the country’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said only that their thoughts and condolences were with the family and friends of those who lost their lives.

William Mainprize was one of two Australians never recovered. Credit: Supplied

The country’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission, whose investigators assisted Panama with its report by gathering information from New Zealand organisations, offered a similar comment to questions from

“On the anniversary of the tragedy, the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission expresses its condolences to the families and friends of those lost,” a spokesperson said.

The TAIC says that under international protocols, investigations into accidents on the high seas fall to the vessel’s flag state, meaning “any decision to conduct further investigations is a matter for … Panama”.

It also says its legislation does not allow the commission to open its own inquiry, although it can co-operate and co-ordinate with other accident investigation organisations overseas.

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