Nine dead in ship sinking in eastern coast

The 8,000-ton cargo ship sank some 900 meters off the southeastern port of Pohang on Oct. 15, 2013, killing nine crewmembers and leaving two others missing. (Yonhap)

POHANG, South Korea, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) — Nine foreign crewmembers were killed and two others remain missing after a Panamanian-registered cargo ship sank off the eastern coast of South Korea, the coast guard said Wednesday.

The 8,461-ton vessel “CHENG LUI 15” carrying 19 sailors — one Vietnamese and 18 Chinese — went down 900 meters off the southeastern port of Pohang around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday, the coast guard said.

Eight sailors were rescued, the coast guard said, without further disclosing details on their nationalities or conditions.

“We have confirmed that eight sailors were rescued while huddling on the vessel and the bodies of nine crewmen were recovered from the nearby ocean,” the coast guard said.

The sea conditions are rough, which is making the rescue operation very difficult, the coast guard said, adding that they will continue the search for the two missing sailors.

High waves are believed to have dragged the ship’s anchor, causing the freighter to hit a sea wall, the coast guard said, adding that an investigation is needed to determine the exact cause of the ship’s sinking.