HK-flagged cargo ship carrying 22 crew sinks off Japan, 4 rescued and 18 still missing (Updated: 9.45am)

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Brisbane Times/fleetmon.com

25th January 2023 – (Nagasaki prefecture) The Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship Jin Tian has sunk off south-western Japan and rescue efforts are under way.

The vessel carrying 22 crew members sank early on Wednesday 110 kilometres west of the remote Danjo islands, 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 the cause of the 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 consisted of 14 Chinese nationals and eight from Myanmar, the Coast Guard said. They boarded emergency rafts at 2.46am, and the ship went under six minutes later, they added. 14 Chinese and 8 Burmese people boarded the raft and left the ship. The cargo ship sank afterwards. The Japanese Coast Guard dispatched two patrol boats and an aircraft, and also requested support from the Self-Defence Forces and the South Korean Coast Guard. A total of eight ships, two aircraft and a helicopter searched for the wreckage of the cargo ship. At around 7am., about 5 hours after the cargo ship sank, a private boat found and rescued four drifting Chinese crew members. The remaining 18 crew members are believed to be still drifting in lifeboats, and the Japanese Coast Guard continues with the search and rescue operation.

The ship sank in waters between the two countries.

JIN TIAN 

The vessel JIN TIAN (IMO: 9578713, MMSI 477852500) is a General Cargo Ship built in 2010 (13 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Hong Kong.

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