Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cambodian-registered ship goes missing on its way from Japan to Hong Kong.

Search on for missing cargo vessel

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-26 10:54

China has sent rescue ships to search for a cargo vessel missing in the East China Sea with 17 Russian crew on board.

The China Maritime Search and Rescue Center said on Friday it launched a search and rescue emergency plan soon after a rescue center in Russia's far east informed it of the missing boat on Thursday.

The Cambodia-registered ship went missing on its way from Japan to Hong Kong.

The vessel failed to arrive in Hong Kong on Thursday as scheduled, and the last radio contact was made with the ship on Sunday, when it was 212 sea miles (391 km) east of Shanghai.

Russian rescue officials then informed rescue centers in China, Japan and South Korea of the Captain Uskov's disappearance.

"Our rescue ships have started searching," Zhai Jiugang, a senior official with China's search and rescue center, said.

Vessels sailing in the East China Sea have also been informed by the center's branches in Shandong and Shanghai of the disappearance of the ship, and were asked to assist in the search, he said.

The center is also using maritime satellites to help search for the vessel. But by Friday afternoon, there was "no clue about the missing boat, and we will continue to search", he said.

The boat, with a cargo capacity of 5,200 metric tons, was built in Japan in 1982. It flew a Soviet flag and was later sold to a private shipping company and registered in Cambodia.

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