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South Korea official says 14 missing after freighter sinks

Carrier was bound for Taiwan, carrying 2,000 tons of nitric acid

South Korea official says 14 missing after freighter sinks

South Korea's navy and Coast Guard mounted an air and sea search for 14 seamen missing after their freighter sank before dawn yesterday in rough seas off the south coast.
The chemical carrier Eastern Bright went down off the port city of Yeosu after sending a distress call at around 4:20 am (3:20 a.m. Taiwan time), the Coast Guard said.
A Myanmarese seaman was rescued about five hours afterwards but 12 Koreans and two Myanmarese remain unaccounted for, a Coast Guard spokesman at Yeosu told Agence France-Presse.
The rescued sailor was unconscious when pulled from the sea but regained consciousness in hospital.
"I fell from my bed while I was sleeping because the ship was shaking," the 29-year-old was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying. "I rushed to the deck and found that the ship was tilting about 40 degrees. Within 10 minutes, the ship tilted 90 degrees before sinking."
The survivor said he heard no sound of any collision. He said he put on a lifejacket before the ship sank but the others failed to do so.
"Coast Guard and navy ships are searching for the missing crew, but big waves of three to four meters are hampering the operation," the spokesman said.
The Coast Guard sent nine ships while the navy dispatched four vessels and one plane.
The freighter left Yeosu on Monday night and was bound for Taiwan, carrying 2,000 tons of nitric acid for a South Korea-based logistics company.
"There seems to be no fear of water pollution around the coast as nitric acid is highly volatile," a Coast Guard officer told Yonhap.
Earlier this month South Korea suffered its worst-ever oil spill when a tanker leaked 10,500 tons of crude off the west coast after being holed by a drifting barge.
The Coast Guard sent a boat to measure the acidity of the waters but it sailed back ashore due to high waves, said Song Hae-mi, another Coast Guard officer. A thin oil slick believed to be from the ship's fuel tanker was spotted on the waters, she added.


Updated : 2021-08-04 07:51 GMT+08:00