A fishing boat carrying nine crew members capsized in waters off the nation’s easternmost islets of Dokdo on Wednesday, according to the Coast Guard, with rescue workers struggling due to high waves of up to 3 to 4 meters. As of 6 p.m., no survivors had been found.
The Coast Guard said it received a report from Japan at around 2:24 p.m that a 72-ton ship carrying nine crew members had overturned in the sea about 168 kilometers from Dokdo.
The overturned ship was a fishing vessel built in 1995, and at the time of the accident, three Koreans, including the captain, the engineer and the deck leader, and six foreign sailors -- four Chinese and two Indonesians -- were found to have boarded.
The accident is reported to have occurred while the ship was moving to fish red crab. A Japanese Coast Guard vessel and a nearby maritime security agency ship, PL-91, are searching for the site. But the search has been difficult as waves rise as high as 3 to 4 meters due to the storm.
A life raft is floating in the waters of the accident, but no sailors are on board, police said.
The Coast Guard said it immediately dispatched 5,000-ton and 1,500-ton patrol ships and helicopters to the site. The dispatched ships are expected to arrive at the accident area between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Police also requested rescue cooperation from local governments, fire authorities and related agencies.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum instructed the ministers of maritime affairs and fisheries and national defense as well as the head of the Coast Guard to do their best to save lives and ensure the safety of the rescue teams.
He also ordered the minister of foreign affairs to make all diplomatic efforts to encourage neighboring countries such as Japan and Russia to help save lives.
Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Sung-hyuk held a meeting, saying, “We will do our best to search and save lives by mobilizing all available resources while asking for cooperation from Japan and other countries.”
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com