TOKYO: The Japanese coastguard said Friday it had discovered a dozen bodies inside a Chinese fishing boat that capsized after a collision with a Hong Kong oil tanker off Japan’s western coast the previous day.
“Our divers found all the bodies of the missing 12 crew members inside the ship,” a coastguard official told Agence France-Presse.
Thursday’s collision occurred 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
The Chinese vessel, the 290-ton “Lurong Yuanyu 378”, had 16 crew members in total. Four have already been rescued.
The Hong Kong-flagged ship was identified as “Brightoil Lucky”, a 63,294-ton tanker carrying 21 crewmembers.
The tanker’s crew were believed to be safe.
Japan had deployed three patrol boats to search for the missing crew, after responding to a plea for help from their Chinese counterparts.