Eight killed as tanker carrying 1,000 tonnes of acid capsizes off Japan

The Keoyoung Sun

Eight people have been confirmed dead after a cargo ship carrying almost 1,000 tonnes of acid capsized in bad weather off the Japanese coast.

The 11-man crew of the South Korean-flagged Keoyoung Sun reportedly included eight Indonesians, one Chinese man and two South Koreans. Nine of the crew were initially rescued and taken to hospital, but eight of them passed away soon after arrival. The surviving crew member has been confirmed as Indonesian. The Japanese coastguard is searching for the two missing crew members amid rough seas.

The 68.9-metre tanker, which is understood to be a chemical and oil products tanker built in 1996, was carrying 980 tonnes of acrylic acid, which is used in creating resins, polishes, acrylic materials, as well as water and oil treatment. Routing information shows it was en route from the port of Himeji in Japan to Ulsan in South Korea when the incident occurred.

There is currently no information about whether the acid has leaked into the ocean.

The Keoyoung Sun began taking on water at around 7am local time this morning (20 March 2024), off the coast of Yamaguchi prefecture in southern Japan.

The crew called the coastguard to inform them that the vessel would reroute to nearby Mutsure Island. Shortly after, the crew made contact to inform the coastguard that the ship was ’tilting’ and called for urgent help. By the time rescuers arrived, the ship had completely capsized.

Japanese broadcaster NHK has broadcast footage showing the red hull of the overturned ship, with a rescue helicopter flying overhead. Winds measuring up to 54km (33 miles) per hour were measured in the area on Wednesday.

There is currently no information about why the ship capsized, and investigations are ongoing.

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