The parents of two missing Kiwi stockmen who went missing from a livestock cattle ship in Japanese waters are begging the Government not to give up.

Lochie Bellerby and Scott Harris are among 40 crew not found after the Gulf Livestock 1 sank in the East China Sea during typhoon conditions last week.

Just three survivors have been found, one of whom later died; Japanese authorities this week suspended the fulltime search having not found anyone since last week.

However, a maritime expert has given the families of Bellerby and Scott hope they could still be alive in an area not covered by coastguard, 1 News reported.

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"We're in a really time-critical phase here because any of those 40 crew members still missing could either be out there on rafts or they're on an island and really need our help," Lucy Bellerby, Lochie's mother, said.

Both of the Kiwis were in constant contact with their parents during the voyage.

Lochie Bellerby is one of two New Zealanders who were on board the Gulf Livestock 1. Photo / RNZ
Lochie Bellerby is one of two New Zealanders who were on board the Gulf Livestock 1. Photo / RNZ

Lucy Bellerby was told by her son the conditions were "extremely rough" and had the vessel on a tilt of 35 degrees.

Harris' mother, Karen Adrian, said he texted her often and said swells were between 12 and 20 feet at times during the typhoon.

Scott Harris was on his first voyage on the Gulf Livestock 1. Photo / RNZ / Karen Adrian
Scott Harris was on his first voyage on the Gulf Livestock 1. Photo / RNZ / Karen Adrian

"We are doing our level best to get some action and to hang on; they can survive this, they can do it," she said.

"They're strong young men, if anybody can do it those boys can do it."

Elsewhere, the family of Australian man Lukas Orda have also urged the Australian government to not give up on the search for their son.

A vet from Queensland, Orda is one of two Australians, the other being New South Wales man Will Mainprize, who is also missing.

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Ulrich Orda thanked the government for their support but asked that search efforts continue, AAP reported.

The 11,947-ton ship, its 43 crew and 5800 cows left Napier in mid-August, heading to Tangshan on China's eastern coast.

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It sent a distress signal at 4.45am (NZT) on Wednesday, September 2, reporting engine failure. Typhoon Maysak was blowing by southern Japan at the time of the incident.

The ship's automated tracker showed it sailing in high winds of 58 knots (107km/h) at its last known position, according to the ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com.

Japanese rescue crews have so far found three survivors - two Filipinos and a third person who was unconscious when recovered by rescue crews, but later died.

Chief Officer Edvardo Sareno, who was rescued late last Wednesday, said the ship stalled when an engine stopped, then capsized after being hit broadside by a powerful wave, and sank.

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