Tuesday, March 21, 2006

3 Sailors Killed, 9 Missing After Ship Collision

Three Chinese sailors aboard a cargo ship were killed and nine others are missing following a collision with another vessel near Inchon Port of the Republic of Korea. Five sailors were saved last night, according to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre under the Ministry of Communications. The Republic of Korea maritime police sent 40 boats and one helicopter to search for the missing sailors after the boat sunk in the crash. "Divers have also been sent to search the sunken ship for sailors," centre official Zhang Rongjun said. The 2,972-ton cargo ship, Xinhai7, was registered in the island country of Tuvalu in the southern Pacific Ocean by Sinbei International Shipping, a Hong Kong company.
It ran into a 3,980-ton Korea Gas vessel at 4:05 am yesterday, when it was entering the port. "Based on the information we got from the ROK maritime police, the vessel might have not seen the anchored freighter," said Zhang. The Korea Gas ship only sustained minor damage with all its crew reported safe. However, Xinhai7 sunk immediately. Five sailors were saved by Teng Yuan, a Chinese fishing boat nearby. They are now under medical observation at a hospital in Inchon and have already contacted their families in China, Zhang said. The Republic of Korea maritime police salvaged three bodies in the rescue, and are still searching for the missing. The Embassy of China to the Republic of Korea has sent officials to Inchon to deal with the accident. Ning Fukui, China's Ambassador to ROK, has met the head of the Republic of Korea maritime police. The latter vowed to make full efforts to search for the missing sailors.

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