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China-Japan relations

13 Chinese killed after fishing boat hits Hong Kong tanker in waters off Japan, North Korea

Japanese coastguard found bodies of a dozen crew members inside the ship

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 10:17pm

The bodies of 12 Chinese have been pulled out of their capsized fishing boat after it collided with a Hong Kong oil tanker in the Sea of Japan, the Japanese coastguard said on Friday.

The two vessels collided 400km north of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, early on Thursday morning. The location, which is also off the east coast of North Korea, is in international waters.

“Our divers found all the bodies of the missing 12 crew members inside the ship,” a Japanese coastguard official told Agence France-Presse.

The death toll rose to 13 after one of four crew members who had been rescued from the fishing boat subsequently died, the authorities said later.

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The identities of the people who died had not yet been confirmed, Xinhua reported.

The 290-tonne Chinese fishing vessel Lurong Yuanyu 378 had 16 people on board when it collided with the tanker. Four of them were rescued by nearby Chinese fishing boats before the Japanese rescue operation began.

All 21 crew members aboard the 63,294-tonne Hong Kong ship, Bright Oil Lucky, were safe.

The Japanese coastguard sent three patrol boats, including divers, to begin rescue work early on Friday at the request of the Chinese consulate in Osaka.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse