Thirteen crew rescued after ship sinks off Japan coast, search continues for 9 missing

Thirteen crew rescued after ship sinks off Japan coast, search continues for 9 missing

TOKYO – Thirteen crew members were rescued on Wednesday from a cargo ship that sank off the coast of southwest Japan during fierce winter winds. Planes and ships, including private ships, searched for the remaining nine.

The vessel, the 6,651-ton Hong Kong-registered “Jintian,” sent out a distress call late Tuesday, the Japan Coast Guard said.

Media reported that a person on the ship said it was listing and taking on water, and later reports said the 22 crew members – all Chinese or Myanmar nationals – had transferred to lifeboats.

Nothing was immediately known about the cause of the capsizing of the ship, which had wood on board. A Coast Guard spokesman said the wind was strong when the distress signal was received around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The Coast Guard immediately sought help from patrol vessels and aircraft in the vicinity, west of the city of Nagasaki, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said.


A lifeboat floats at sea near the site of a cargo ship that sank off the coast of southwest Japan on January 25, 2023.
A lifeboat floats at sea near the site of a cargo ship that sank off the coast of southwest Japan on January 25, 2023.
REUTERS

The ship sank at 2:46 a.m., he added, citing other ships in the area.

The Coast Guard “also seeks cooperation with the Self-Defense Forces, the South Korean Coast Guard and vessels operating near the waters,” Matsuno said at a regular news conference.

He said the five crew members who were rescued were all Chinese, but had no further information about their condition.

A Japanese Coast Guard spokesman told Reuters that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Korea Coast Guard rescued an additional eight crew members.


Aircraft and ships, including private vessels, searched for the remaining nine off the coast of southwestern Japan on January 25, 2023.
Aircraft and ships, including private vessels, searched for the remaining nine off the coast of southwestern Japan on January 25, 2023.
REUTERS

Earlier, Japan’s Coast Guard said it discovered four crew members in the water and they were rescued by a private vessel about 68 miles west of the Danjo Islands.

The Coast Guard could not confirm reports that the crew were in lifeboats.

Western parts of Japan were battered by winter storms that brought frigid, windy conditions on Tuesday.

The area where the ship sank is between Nagasaki and South Korea’s Jeju Island, where hundreds of flights were canceled on Tuesday due to harsh weather conditions.

A ship ran aground near the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa on Tuesday due to strong winds. The 19 crew members have been rescued, the media reported.

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