Japanese officials have confirmed that three people have gone missing after a tanker collided with a vehicle carrier in the Seto Inland Sea, causing the latter to sink in the early morning (local time) of Friday, May 28.
The incident occurred at around 23:55 on Thursday, May 27, when the Marshall Islands-flagged chemical tanker Ulsan Pioneer struck the Japanese-flagged vehicle carrier Byakko.
The impact left the vehicle carrier severely damaged that it sank less than three hours later at 02:45. Only nine of its 12-strong crew have so far been rescued.
The missing included the 66-year-old captain, the 27-year-old first engineer, and the 22-year-old second engineer, all of whom were Japanese nationals.
The nine survivors were rescued by a Japan Coast Guard vessel and a privately-owned containership that had diverted to the area to render assistance.
The tanker suffered significant damage to its bow but is still able to sail under its own power. No injuries have been reported among its 13 crewmembers.
Prince Kaiun Company, the shipping company that owns Byakko, said that the car carrier had earlier departed Kobe and was sailing for Kanda in Fukuoka prefecture when it was struck by the tanker, which had sailed out of China and was en route to Osaka.
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