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World

26 North Koreans rescued as cargo ship sinks off Japan

A Japan Coast Guard vessel sails by one of the the disputed islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, in the East China Sea. (Reuters file)

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

TOKYO, Japan -- Japan rescued 26 North Koreans after they abandoned their sinking cargo vessel in the East China Sea, the coast guard said Thursday.

Japan Coast Guard patrol boats plucked the ship's entire crew out of the water in the early hours of the morning after they had abandoned the vessel and taken to life boats.

A distress signal was received Wednesday from the 6,558-ton Chong Gen which began sinking about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Fukue island in Nagasaki prefecture, the spokesman said. 

The ship finally sank before dawn some 27 kilometers from the island.

The coast guard cited the crew as saying the ship was transporting rice from North Korea's port of Nampo on its west coast to the east coast city of Wonsan.

That route entails travelling around the southern end of the Korean peninsula.

"We rescued all the crew members safely and no one was injured," the coast guard spokesman said.

"We are investigating the cause of the accident by interviewing them on our patrol ship offshore," he added.

The spokesman said no decision has been made on what to do with the crew as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

 

 

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