13 missing in ship collision off Japan's Aomori


Photo: NHK

TOKYO, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Thirteen crew members including seven Chinese nationals onboard a Belize-flagged cargo ship are missing after the ship collided with a fishing boat off Japan's northeastern prefecture of Aomori late Saturday, the Chinese consulate general in Sapporo said Sunday.

Guo Xing 1, the 1,989-ton cargo ship with 14 crew onboard, informed the Japanese side after it suffered a collision at around 10:17 p.m. local time Saturday about 12 km off the coast of Rokkasho.

The collision caused water to enter the ship which sank at about 10:35 p.m. local time.

The 13 missing crew also included five Vietnamese and one Filipino. One Vietnamese crewmember was rescued.

The Chinese consulate general said it immediately activated the emergency response mechanism and contacted relevant Japanese departments to obtain information, asking the Japan Coast Guard and other relevant units to carry out search and rescue.

By 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Japan had dispatched six aircraft, six patrol ships and dozens of rescuers to carry out rescue operations, the consulate general said.

At present, some floating objects have been found in the sea area of the collision, but it is not yet known whether they were related to the sunken ship, and no further progress has been made in personnel search, the consulate general said.

All 15 crew of the fishing boat were unharmed.