3 crew missing after ships collide in Japanese strait

TOKYO (AP) — A freighter sank in a Japanese strait early Friday after colliding with another ship, and three crew members from the cargo ship are missing.

Nine of the 12 crewmembers from the Japanese freighter have been rescued, and the coast guard was searching for others in waters roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) north of the coast of Imabari in Ehime prefecture.

The Byakko collided Thursday night with a chemical tanker operated by a South Korean company, and the collision caused the Byakko to sink.

Ulsan Pioneer tanker was run by South Korean firm Heung-A Shipping Co. with 13 crew members, including Korean and Myanmar nationals, the coast guard said in a statement. It departed a port in China on Tuesday for Osaka, Japan, conveying acetic acid.

None of the Ulsan Pioneer’s crew members was injured.

The Byakko was operated by Kobe-based Prince Kaiun Co. and was carrying car parts overnight to Kanda, a town in Fukuoka prefecture.

On average, around 400 vessels a day pass through the Kurushima Strait in southern Japan where the collision occurred.

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