Cargo ship sinks off coast of Japan as bad weather hampers search for missing crew

South Korean and Japanese coast guards searching for crew members of a cargo ship that sank in waters between South Korea and Japan. Credit: AP

Strong winds and rough seas are hampering the search for eight crew members who are missing after a cargo ship sank between South Korea and Japan on Wednesday.

Nine of 22 crew members, who are Chinese and Myanmar nationals, were recused by South Korean and Japanese coastguard and airlifted to hospital where they remain unconscious.

Five other crew members picked up by coastguards were either conscious when found or regained consciousness after being rescued.

The 6,551-tonne Jin Tian, which was carrying lumber, capsized about three and a half hours after it sent a distress call at around 11:15 pm.

Choppy waters were making the search for missing crew more difficult. Credit: AP

Crew abandoned ship minutes before it sank about 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Nagasaki, Japan, and about 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of South Korea’s Jeju island.

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

The vessel left Malaysia’s Port Klang on December 3 and was headed for South Korea’s Incheon port, according to maritime transport website MarineTraffic.

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