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Ship sinks between South Korea and Japan; 9 remain unconscious

WORLD

Search vessels in wind-whipped waters between South Korea. And Japan have picked up at least 14 of the 22 crew members from a cargo ship that sank early Wednesday.

South Korean officials said nine of them were unconscious.

But did not immediately confirm any deaths. They said the crew members will be airlifted to Japan for treatment.

South Korean and Japanese coast guard ships and plane. As well as two commercial cargo ships, continued to search for the eight missing crew members. But efforts were being slowed by strong winds and waves, South Korean officials said.

Japan’s coast guard confirmed the rescue of at least 13 crew members. And said five of them – all Chinese nationals – were still alive.

Ship sinks between South Korea and Japan; 9 remain unconscious

The 6,551-ton Jin Tian sank about three and a half hours. After a distress call was sent at around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Japanese Coast Guard spokeswoman Shinya Kitahara said.

The vessel, which was registered in Hong Kong and was carrying timber. Sank about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Nagasaki, Japan. And about 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Coast guard officials on Jeju Island said the captain last contacted. The coast guard via a satellite phone around 2:41 a.m. saying. The crew members would abandon the vessel minutes before it sank.

Six crew members were picked up by South Korean coast guard ships. While a cargo ship picked up five and Japanese plane picked up three, according to Jeju’s coast guard.

According to South Korean and Japanese officials.

14 crew members are Chinese and eight are from Myanmar. According to the Maritime Transport website, the vessel left the Malaysian port of Klang on December 3. And was en route to the South Korean port of Incheon.

The vessel is owned by Long Bright Shipping Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered company. That is a subsidiary of Shenzhen Shekou Shipping Transportation Co., Ltd., according to a July 2022 filing. By the parent company with China’s National Equity Exchange and Quotation. The filing says Jin Tian was used as collateral for a loan that was later repaid.

Calls to a number listed for Shenzhen Shekou Shipping Transportation in mainland. China went unanswered on Wednesday during the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday.

South Korean officials did not immediately say whether the nine. Who were unconscious might have survived their injuries if they had not already died. They said five other rescued crew members either regained consciousness. Or regained consciousness after rescue.

Kitahara said the cause of the ship’s sinking was not immediately known. 

There were no signs of a collision with another vessel. He said heavy weather had delayed the arrival of Japanese patrol boats and plane after the sinking.

Jeju coast guard officials said a strong wind warning was issued for the area earlier on Wednesday but was later lifted. As of 7 a.m., winds were blowing at about 16 meters (yards) per second in the area, creating waves 3 to 4 meters (yards) high.

Japan’s coast guard said the water in the area remained rough with a temperature of around 14 degrees Celsius.

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