Japan joins search for nine missing from Chinese ship

A Japanese coastguard patrol boat joined a search Wednesday for nine crew members missing from a Chinese-registered ship which sank off the coast of Japan, a coastguard official said.

Tokyo: A Japanese coastguard patrol boat joined a search Wednesday for nine crew members missing from a Chinese-registered ship which sank off the coast of Japan, a coastguard official said.

Five crew members were rescued from the 238-tonne Lurongyu 2859, which sank Tuesday morning off Shimane prefecture in southwestern Japan.

The helicopter-carrying Japanese coastguard vessel Daisen arrived around midday Wednesday at the scene of the sinking, some 390 kilometres (240 miles) north of Shimane`s Oki islands, the official told AFP.

The Chinese vessel is presumed to be a fishing boat but its port of origin and the identities of its crew members were not immediately known.

The official said the Japan Coast Guard had received a rescue request from China`s search and rescue centre late Tuesday.

Two North Korean ships were also on their way to join the operation, the official said, citing information from Chinese authorities.

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