Eleven rescued after Hong Kong cargo ship sinks off Japan

April 6th, 2012 - 1:34 am ICT by BNO News  

OSAKA, JAPAN (BNO NEWS) — The Japanese Coast Guard on Thursday rescued eleven crew members of a Hong Kong cargo ship which went missing off the coast of southern Japan earlier this week, officials said. Six other crew members remain missing.

The 4,100-tonnes vessel, called ‘New Lucky VII, was in the middle of harsh stormy weather on Tuesday when contact was lost in the East China Sea, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Amami ƌshima in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture. It was carrying a total of 17 crew members.

At around 4:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, a patrol plane belonging to the Japanese Coast Guard located a life raft carrying nine of the crew members about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the position where contact with the ship was lost. They were rescued about an hour later.

During the rescue operation, a Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessel located a second life raft carrying two more crew members who were also rescued safely, officials said. None of the eleven rescued crew members were injured and all appeared to be doing well, despite having floated at sea for two days.

The Japanese Coast Guard earlier reported large amounts of oil where the ship had lost contact, raising fears it has sunk. ‘New Lucky VII’ was transporting timber from Papua New Guinea to China and its crew consisted of fourteen Indonesian citizens, two Chinese and one Taiwanese.

Six of the Indonesian crew members remain missing.

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