Ship sinks in the sea between South Korea and Japan, leaving 2 people dead and 8 missing

Ship sinks in the sea between South Korea and Japan, leaving 2 people dead and 8 missing

At least 14 of the 22 crew members from a cargo ship that sunk early on Wednesday, killing at least two people, have been found by ships searching in the wind-tossed seas between South Korea and Japan, authorities said.

Although they could not immediately confirm any fatalities, South Korean authorities said nine of those who were rescued are still unconscious. Ten crew members were subsequently transported for medical attention to Nagasaki in southern Japan, but two of them were reported dead upon arrival, according to Japanese authorities.

Strong winds and waves were slowing the search for the eight missing crew members conducted by South Korean and Japanese coast guard ships and planes, as well as two commercial cargo ships, according to South Korean authorities.

According to Shinya Kitahara, a spokesman for the Japanese coast guard, the 6,551-ton Jin Tian sunk around three and a half hours after sending a distress call at 11:15 pm on Tuesday in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

The ship, which had a Hong Kong registration and was carrying timber, sunk around 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Jeju Island in South Korea and about 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Nagasaki, Japan.

Minutes before the ship sunk, the skipper made his final contact with the coast guard via satellite phone at 2.41 am, stating that the crew will leave the ship, according to Jeju island coast guard authorities.

According to Jeju's coast guard, the South Korean coast guard picked up six crew members, a cargo ship picked up five, and a Japanese aircraft picked up three.

According to officials, eight crew members are from Myanmar and 14 are Chinese. Online resources on marine transportation state that the ship departed Malaysia's Port Klang on December 3 for the port of Incheon in South Korea.

According to a declaration issued by the parent firm to China's National Equities Exchange and Quotations in July 2022, the ship is owned by Long Bright Shipping Limited, a Hong Kong-registered business that is a division of Shenzhen Shekou Shipping Transportation Co., Ltd.

According to the document, the Jin Tian served as security for a debt that was ultimately repaid.

During the week-long Lunar New Year vacation on Wednesday, calls to a number posted for Shenzhen Shekou Shipping Transportation in mainland China remained unanswered.

The nine people who were unconscious weren't immediately given a prognosis for survival by South Korean authorities. They said that the five other crew members who were saved were either conscious when they were discovered or were cognizant again.

The reason of the ship's sinking is now unknown, according to Kitahara, and there are no indications that it collided with another vessel. He said that challenging weather caused the arrival of Japanese patrol boats and planes to be delayed.

A severe wind warning for the region was earlier on Wednesday, according to Jeju's coast guard officials, but it was subsequently revoked. Wave heights were between 3 and 4 metres (9 to 13 feet), and winds were blowing at around 56 kilometres per hour (35 miles per hour).

The water in the vicinity, according to the Japanese coast guard, is still choppy and about 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).