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Bulker and car carrier collision off Japanese coast leaves 16 crew members missing

Bulker and car carrier collision off Japanese coast leaves 16 crew members missing

Tokyo: A collision between South Korea-flagged bulk vessel Orchid Pia and Panama-flagged car carrier Cygnus Ace has left seven South Korean and nine Indonesian sailors missing, according to reports from the Japan Coast Guard. The incident took place early this morning in waters off Izu Oshima Island, roughly 120km south of Tokyo.

The 10,833-tonne Cygnus Ace immediately reported the collision to the coast guard and said its radar was not able to locate the South Korean vessel, AFP writes.

The 4,255-tonne-Orchid Pia has not responded to radio signals from the coast guard, which has launched six patrol vessels and two planes to search the freighter.

The ship was laden with 5,051 tons of steel coils and was travelling from the port of Kashima in eastern Japan to South Korea, the coast guard said.

'It is possible that Orchid Pia sunk,' a coast guard official said. 'We found an empty raft in the area waters, but so far we are continuing the search for the missing individuals,' he said.

Cygnus Ace suffered some damage but is able to navigate, the coast guard said. There are no reports of sailors missing from the ship.  [10/03/09]


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