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South Korean cargo ship with 16 crew feared sunk off Japan

South Korean cargo ship with 16 crew feared sunk off Japan

Japanese rescue vessels and aircraft scoured the sea yesterday looking for 16 sailors missing after a collision which coast guard officials say probably sank their South Korean freighter.
The Orchid Pia collided with Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel the Cygnus Ace in rough seas off Izu Oshima Island, about 120km south of Tokyo in the early hours yesterday.
Seven South Korean and nine Indonesian sailors on board the Orchid Pia are missing, Japan's Coast Guard said.
"We believe the ship probably sank," a coast guard official said.
"There is nothing we can see around the waters. We found an empty raft. We are also seeing some life jackets on the water surface. But we are yet to find any parts of the vessel."
Television footage showed a wide oil slick near the collision site.
The accident happened at night and amid low visibility as rains and strong winds battered the ships, the coast guard said.
The Cygnus Ace - a 10,833-ton automobile carrier with 19 crew aboard - immediately reported the accident to the coast guard and said the South Korean ship had disappeared off its radar.
The 4,255-ton Orchid Pia failed to respond to radio signals and the coast guard launched five patrol vessels and three aircraft to search for the vessel and its crew, the official said.
The Japanese navy also deployed a ship and two planes in the search.
The Orchid Pia, carrying 5,051 tons of steel coils, was travelling from the port of Kashima in eastern Japan to South Korea.
Coast guard officials said it was not clear if the raft they found actually belonged to the missing freighter.
The Cygnus Ace suffered some damage to its bow, aerial footage on Japanese television showed, but was able to navigate.
There were no reports that any of the crew - 14 Thai, three Myanmar and two Indonesian nationals - were injured on the Cygnus Ace, which was expected to arrive at Yokohama port later yesterday.


Updated : 2021-07-27 15:00 GMT+08:00