Six bodies found after freighter fire

Kyodo

A fire broke out early Thursday on a Cambodian-registered freighter at Wakkanai port in Hokkaido and bodies believed to be those of six missing Russian crew members were found after it took about 11 hours to put out the blaze, officials said.

Firefighters and Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels arrived at the site after being alerted by an emergency call around 1:45 a.m. that the 497-ton Taigan was on fire, the officials said.

Three Russian crew members in their 40s to 50s were rescued and taken to a hospital, where their conditions were described as not life-threatening. One suffered smoke inhalation and the other two were burned, police and fire officials said. Fourteen others, including the 47-year-old Russian captain, were confirmed safe.

About two-thirds of the vessel’s interior was burned, they said.

The ship entered the port Tuesday with 18 crew members — 14 Russians and four Ukrainians — after leaving Sakhalin in the Russian Far East with a load of crab, according to the coast guard and Wakkanai officials.