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Japan: 7 dead after South Korean-flagged tanker capsizes

March 20, 2024

Authorities are examining whether acrylic acid had leaked into the ocean after the Keoyoung Sun chemicals tanker capsized in rough seas off the coast of Japan.

A South Korean tanker capsized off Mutsure Island in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwestern Japan
Officials said one member of the crew was alive, with the condition of another unknownImage: picture alliance/dpa/Kyodo News/AP

Japan's coastguard on Wednesday said seven members of the crew of a capsized South Korean tanker have been pronounced dead.

The tanker had 980 metric tons of acrylic acid on board, but the coastguard said there was no initial information about whether this had leaked into the ocean.

What we know about the South Korean tanker capsizing

Officials said one member of the crew was alive, with the condition of another individual who was rescued unknown. 

The vessel had 11 crew aboard, with nine members retrieved so far. Coastguard officials said the ship was carrying a South Korean captain, another South Korean national, a Chinese national and eight Indonesians.

The incident took place near Japan's Mutsure Island off the coast of Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan.

The tanker, Keoyoung Sun, had been anchored because of bad weather and requested assistance at about 7 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2200 GMT/UTC on Wednesday).

However, the ship was completely capsized by the time rescuers arrived at the scene.

Officials are examining what environmental protection measures may be necessary in the event of a leak. 

Acrylic acid, which is used in making plastics, resins, and coatings, can be an irritant for the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

rc/fb (Reuters, AP)