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Chinese seafarer held in Japan following fatal collision

A Chinese crew member is being detained in Japan following a collision between two cargo ships that resulted in the deaths of at least five seafarers in the early hours of Friday morning.

The collision took place when the 2,962 tonne Sierra Leone-registered Jia Hui collided with the 498 tonne Japanese-flagged Eifuku Maru No. 18 some 11 km west of Japan's Izu Oshima island, about 100 km south of Tokyo. The collision resulted in the capsize of the smaller vessel, and when Coast Guard vessels and helicopters reached the scene of the accident they recovered the bodies of five seafarers from the stricken Japanese vessel, while a 61-year-old engineer remains missing. The 13 crew of the Jia Hui were unhurt.

Seafarer Xia Hong-bo was the officer of the watch aboard Jia Hui when the collision took place, according to the Japanese Coast Guard, and was arrested on Sunday on grounds of suspected negligence. The Chinese embassy has asked for him to receive legal representation.  

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