DONGHAE, South Korea, 02 Dec. (Yonhap) – The South Korean coast guard on Thursday rescued 17 Vietnamese sailors after their freighter sank near the eastern island of Ulleung the day before, officials said Thursday.
The 5,765-ton Panama-registered vessel carrying 18 Vietnamese crew members sank in waters 154 kilometers north of the East Sea island on Wednesday around 9:50 a.m., according to the Donghae regional office of coast guard.
The incident took place north of the northern boundary line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border.
Seventeen of the 18 crew members escaped the sinking ship on a lifeboat and were rescued by the coast guard at 4:08 a.m. on Thursday as they floated in the waters 131 kilometers northeast of the South Korean island.
The other crew member is still missing after being washed away by the waves.
A high tide warning was issued in the area for the second day in a row on Wednesday.
The Coast Guard picked up the SOS signal from the vessel’s emergency position indicating a radio beacon through a local user terminal at 4:31 p.m. on the day of the accident and shared the information with the Coast Guard Japanese.
The Japanese Coast Guard dispatched a patrol vessel to the area but could not reach the lifeboat because it was too far away. A Russian merchant vessel also spotted the lifeboat but was unable to rescue the crew members due to the harsh weather conditions.