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Five men missing as cargo ship sinks near Iriomote

Date Posted: 2010-11-18

Five Chinese crew members of a Panamanian-registered cargo boat remain missing, and at least two of the 25 crewmen have died some 340 kilometers south of Iriomote Island after the vessel flooded and listed.

The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters says the ‘Nasco Diamond’ encountered “stormy weather and seawater flooded into the boat, so the hull listed.” Crew members rescued by the Japan Coast Guard and by Taiwanese authorities told stories of the ship floundering in rough seas, leading the crew to abandon ship.

Several of those rescued say they know of two fellow crewmen who died in the incident. Five others remain missing, but the search continues by the Coast Guard and Air Self Defense Force aircraft.

A 3rd class engineer says he was “working in the engine room when there were announcements to wear a life vest and gather on deck. I got on deck,” he said, “and I was then thrown into the sea. I didn’t see anyone after that.” A 25-year-old deck boy rescued by Taiwanese said “I wore a life jacket and was on deck when the boat turned over and I was thrown out into the sea.

Rescued crewmen have been taken to an Ishigaki Island hospital. The 11th Regional Coast Guard notified Chinese authorities, and say the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo has expressed gratitude to the Coast Guard for its operations.

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