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Japan searches for crew of Taiwan cargo ship

Japan searches for crew of Taiwan cargo ship

Japanese patrol vessels rescued three of 25 mainland Chinese crew members who went missing after their Taiwanese cargo ship lost contact and apparently sunk off a southern Japan island.
Japan's Coast Guard said Friday it joined the rescue effort at the request of Taiwanese authorities after the Panama-registered cargo ship Nasco Diamond lost contact early Wednesday on open seas, about 210 miles (340 kilometers) south of Japan's southern island of Iriomote.
The survivors _ aged 22, 25 and 26 _ told Japanese authorities the ship capsized after sea water gushed into a storage area for unknown reasons, coast guard official Naoya Iwanaga said.
The Coast Guard and their Taiwanese counterparts rescued five crew members, but two later died. All crew on the 17,000-ton ship were Chinese nationals.
Rescuers also found a lifeboat and traces of oil in the area. The cargo ship, loaded with 55,000 tons of nickel ore, was headed to Yunnan in southern China from Indonesia.
The fate of the other 20 crew members was unknown.
The rescue happened about two months after Japan arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel that collided with two Japanese patrol boats in disputed waters in the East China Sea, sparking a diplomatic row between the two Asian nations.