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Cargo ship sinks en route from Taiwan to South Korea; 8 people missing

Questions have arisen concerning conflicting media reports

File photo of cargo ship Rena, running aground in Oct. 2011.

File photo of cargo ship Rena, running aground in Oct. 2011. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Jan. 29 media reported that a cargo ship, Jian Hong 1 (建宏1號) carrying sugar from Taichung, Taiwan to South Korea, had reportedly encountered difficulties and begun to sink just after 10 p.m on the evening of Jan. 28.

Erroneous reports suggested that all members of the crew had been rescued that same day. However, subsequent reports on Jan. 30 have since stated that there was a joint rescue operation between Chinese and Taiwanese forces to search for at least eight people who are still missing at sea.

CNA reports the ship sunk about 140 nautical miles north of Taipei, off the coast of Wenzhou. Earlier reports suggested the accident was about 80 nautical miles northwest of Taipei, reports Maritime Bulletin.

The Jianhong 1 is a ship registered to a Mongolian company. The ten person crew consisted of one Taiwanese, five Indonesians, and four from Myanmar. However, earlier reports from Xinhua news agency reported there were eleven crew members on board.

CNA reports that the Chinese ship Jinan (濟南艦), dispatched from Wenzhou was first on the scene, and that one Taiwanese and one Indonesian were rescued from the vessel by the Chinese rescue forces.

The Ministry of National Defense stated that they dispatched three aircraft for search and rescue operations at around 10:35 p.m. including an S-70C from Songshan, an EC-225 from Chiayi, and a C-130 from Pingtung, but that the planes were unable to locate any survivors, reports Apple Daily.

The rescued crew members, including the Taiwanese citizen, are currently reportedly in the care of the Chinese authorities. Reports suggest that the Taiwanese survivor was in a severe state and near death when they were rescued.

The cargo ship was chartered by a Taiwanese company Juipang Co. Ltd. (瑞邦公司).