The One Minato container ship. | John Chomicz

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Since Tuesday, the Maritime Safety Agency has been searching for a container ship crew member in Balearic waters.

On Tuesday, a Filipino crew member on the Japanese-registered One Minato was due to finish his shift. His replacement couldn't find him. The ship's captain ordered a search of the entire ship. As there was no trace of him, the conclusion was that he had fallen overboard. There have been stormy conditions in the western Mediterranean for several days.

Responding to the consequent emergency message, the Maritime Safety Agency in Palma and Valencia coordinated the search operation. This was initially focused on an area some sixty kilometres southeast of Mallorca. But as he was on a long shift, it is not known where exactly he fell overboard.

Two planes have been sweeping wide areas, but rescuers accept that it is almost impossible that he can be found alive. The search is likely to soon be called off.

The One Minato is a gigantic vessel of more than 300 metres in length. It is on route from Singapore to New York.