Seoul, South Korea –
The South Korean and Japanese coastguards are searching for the 17 crew members of a cargo ship that sank early Wednesday morning while transporting timber in waters between South Korea and Japan.
The coast guard of southern South Korea’s Jeju Island said five crew members were rescued by nearby ships after the 6,551-ton Jin Tian sank about 150 kilometers south of the island and inside the exclusive zone. economy of Japan.
South Korean and Japanese officials said 14 crew members on board the ship registered in Hong Kong were Chinese and eight were from Myanmar.
Shinya Kitahara, a spokeswoman for the Japan Coast Guard, said the ship sank nearly four hours after sending a distress signal around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. According to Jeju coast guard officials, the ship’s captain last contacted the coast guard via satellite phone at around 2:41 a.m., saying the crew would be disembarking.
No one was found in the three life rafts and two lifeboats searched by South Korean coast guard teams, who later arrived by speedboat.
Kitahara, who confirmed the rescue of at least four crew members, said the cause of the ship’s sinking was not immediately known and there was no indication that it collided with another vessel. He said Japan had sent patrol boats and planes to the area, but their arrival was delayed due to inclement weather.
A strong wind warning has been issued at the site of the sinking, about 160 kilometers southwest of the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.