TOKYO - The Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship Jin Tian sank off south-western Japan and efforts are underway to rescue the 22 crew members.
The vessel sank 110km west of the remote Danjo islands early morning Wednesday, part of Nagasaki prefecture, a Japan Coast Guard spokesman said, confirming an earlier Kyodo News report.
The coast guard received a distress call at 11.15pm on Tuesday, he said, adding that the cause of the ship sinking was still unknown.
The incident, coming during an unusually frigid week in Japan, appears to be the worst since a cargo ship carrying almost 6,000 cattle sank in 2019 off the coast, leaving most of the crew of 39 missing at sea.
The Jin Tian crew comprised 14 Chinese nationals and eight from Myanmar, the Coast Guard said. they boarded emergency rafts at 2.40am in the morning, and the ship went under six minutes later, they added.
Kyodo News reported that four were rescued and 18 were still missing.
Three civilian ships – a Japanese research vessel, a Liberian tanker and Chinese cargo ship – are undertaking rescue efforts, maritime authorities said, adding that the Coast Guard and Japan Self-Defence Forces were en route. BLOOMBERG