• Kyodo

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A Belizean-registered cargo ship sank early Sunday after colliding with a Japanese fishing boat off the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The accident occurred around 3:20 a.m. when the 78-ton No. 3 Koshi Maru, with eight crew members aboard, collided with the 2,847-ton Belizean cargo ship AIGE, with a crew of 18, in the Sea of Japan about 26 km southeast of the Oki Islands.

The cargo ship sank a few hours later at around 8:30 a.m., while the fishing boat did not report any major damage, the coast guard said. No injuries were reported.

The Chinese crew of the Belizean vessel, which was transporting 2,600 tons of scrap iron from Funakawa port in Oga city, Akita Prefecture, to China, reportedly abandoned ship after the collision and took refuge on the fishing boat, which had just left Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture.

The coast guard said seas were relatively calm at the time of the collision and that it has dispatched four patrol ships and a helicopter to the site to investigate the cause of the accident and to watch for possible oil spills.

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