Nine dead after cargo ship sinks

by Array

SEOUL, South Korea—A cargo ship hit a seawall off South Korea’s southeastern coast and partly sank in an accident that killed nine crew members and left two missing, according to coast guard officers. Eight crew members were rescued.

The ship is owned by a Chinese firm and flagged in Panama, and its crew is nearly all Chinese with one Vietnamese. The 8,461-tonne ship had anchored off the port city of Pohang but high waves forced it against the seawall Tuesday afternoon.

All 19 people on board were listed as missing about 14 hours after the accident as winds and waves hampered rescue efforts.

Early Wednesday, coast guard rescuers found eight sailors either floating in the sea or waiting for help on the front of the ship. Most of the vessel has sunk, coast guard officers said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to speak to the media on this matter. The rescued sailors were wearing life jackets.

The coast guard also collected the bodies of nine crew members but two are still missing, the officers said.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the ship, the CHENGLU15, belonged to China’s Lishen International Shipping Group Corp. in Zhejiang province. The ship had unloaded its freight and was set to leave for Japan. The coast guard officers said the ship was carrying about 130 tonnes of bunker oil and diesel fuel.