2 cargo ships collide southwest off Tokyo

March 10, 2009

A South Korean-flagged cargo ship may have sunk after colliding with a Panamanian-registered freighter early Tuesday in waters some 120 km southwest of Tokyo, the Japan Coast Guard said.

Photo taken on March 10, 2009 shows the Panamanian-registered freighter which collided with a South Korean-flagged cargo ship. The two ships collieded in waters some 120 km southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday.

The 4,255-ton South Korean ship Orchid Pia, with seven South Koreans and nine Indonesians onboard, lost contact with the coast guard while the 10,833-ton Cygnus Ace, crewed by 19 people, suffered damage after the accident occurred at about 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Monday), the coast guard said.

The Yokohama-based Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) dispatched ships and choppers to search for the supposedly sunken freighter, and found an unmanned rescue raft and several life jackets floating in the water.

The rain-caused low visibility of the area, some 13 km east of the Izu Oshima Island, was a key factor behind the accident, according to the coast guard.


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